Students showed off at ARL's 8th annual Symposium

August 12, 2014

By Joyce P. Brayboy, ARL Public Affairs Office

Student mentors saw the fruit of their labor at the 2014 U.S. Army Research Laboratory Summer Student Symposium where presenters from across laboratory shined.

"The student presenters get up year after year and just blow us away with their poise, their knowledge, and their accomplishments," said Dr. Rose Pesce-Rodriguez, an ARL Fellow and long-time supporter of the program.

This year 12 finalists showcased their research findings, with winners awarded cash prizes during the awards ceremony held Aug. 7 at the ARL Conference Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. The names of nearly 70 students who participated in the newly introduced poster session were entered into a drawing for a ticket to a Washington Redskins football game.

"Every student is a winner," said Dr. Shashi Karna, who served as a judge, is an ARL Fellow and one of the Symposium program founders. "I have been doing this for 10 years and I see the students put their heart and soul into these projects."

This was the first year the Symposium organizers added the poster session in which students could discuss their summer work.

Jeffrey Ly, a rising senior at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., who majors in bioengineering, and studies drama, rallied attendees to his poster. Ly was an entertainer with a story to tell. His hands flying in rhythm, the passion he had for genetically engineered organisms was almost contagious.

"It is a new frontier to develop technology with bio-systems," Ly started as several more people stopped to listen. Instead of Ly following his dad, as an ARL employee into the field of electrical engineering, he joined a small group at ARL exploring bio-systems.

Following the poster session this year's finalists were recognized by Dr. Thomas Russell, ARL's director. As Kenneth Leiter, a computer scientist and mentor, sat down to hear the winners announced, he said he wasn't worried whether his second year summer mentee, Andrew Hoosier from the University of Maryland would place. But he was hopeful.

"We practiced a lot," he said. "He knew it would be difficult to describe the algorithm component in the 'Mulithreading the Adaptive Sampling Database of the Hierarchical Multiscale Framework' project. He decided to use pictures in the presentation to make it simple."

Hoosier earned a third-place win in the undergraduate category.

Leiter was a summer student for the Army prior to working at ARL and his experience helped not only in his studies, but also with his first job search. He mentors so he could pass on a similar experience to his students, he said.

Sophia Haire, the first place undergraduate winner said she felt good about how she presented, but she also felt good about her peers' work.

The rising sophomore from the University of Maryland said the unexpected win she gained by presenting "Transonic Experiment Facility Free-Flight Spark Range: Automation of Film Reading and Processing" was her first public speaking experience.

When researchers expose the youth to Defense technology it builds interest in the research and an idea of where their work could be applied for future applications, said Dr. Hao Kang, a mentor from the Vehicle Technology Directorate.

Kang's mentee, a Penn State University student, coming from University Park, Pa. won first place among the graduate presentations with, "Passive Vibration Control of a Full-Scale Tailboom with Fluidic Flexible Matrix Composite Tubes."

The doctorial candidate, Kentaro Miura said, "I knew I did well, but I thought it would be a toss-up."

Stephen Conyers from the University of Delaware in Newark, Del. congratulated Miura. He shared what he enjoyed about Miura's presentation: ". . . it was an innovative solution to such a big problem."

One of the greatest benefits of the Symposium is students got a chance to see other students' work outside of their training site, Miura said.

"These presentations truly show the quality of the students in the summer program and the universities represented," said the laboratory's director in his remarks.

Russell, along with Symposium organizers Isabel Llerena and Pesce-Rodriguez handed out an award to each finalist. Pesce-Rodriguez thinks back on her formative experience with science and technology. "We were taught to sit up straight, keep our mouths shut, and when asked, to spit out the answer according to the textbook."

As the years go by, Pesce-Rodriguez said, the more fun science gets to her and the more she wants to share the fun with students.

"For most of our outreach work, we won't know the return on investment for 20 years, if ever. With the summer student symposium we know at the end of the day that it is all worthwhile," Pesce-Rodriguez said.

2014 Awardees:

Undergraduate Category

1st - Sophia Haire, WMRD "Transonic Experiment Facility Free-Flight Spark Range: Automation of Film Reading and Processing"

2nd - Helen Lan, SEDD "JP-8 Catalytic Combustion for Army Kitchen Applications"

3rd - Andrew Hoosier, CISD "Multithreading the Adaptive Sampling Database of the Hierarchical Multiscale Framework"

Graduate Category

1st - Kentaro Miura, VTD "Passive Vibration Control of a Full-Scale Tailboom with Fluidic Fexible Matrix Composite Tubes"

2nd - Stephanie Slaughter, WMRD "High Throughput Femtosecond-laser Machining of Micro-tension Specimens"

3rd - Mary Tellers, SEDD "Piezoelectric Actuator Surface Response to Waveform Variation for Reconfigurable Electronics"


Last Update / Reviewed: August 12, 2014