University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science Hosts Undergraduate Research and Design Symposium

April 30, 2007 — Eighteen of the top U.Va. School of Engineering and Applied Science undergraduate students will showcase their fourth-year (senior) theses in the Rotunda as part of the 20th annual Undergraduate Research and Design Symposium on Wednesday, May 2.

The students, who will present their individual and team projects in a poster session before approximately 100 fellow students, faculty, family members and interested high school students throughout the day, were selected from 37 entries (24 individual, 13 team) for their projects’ significance, technical quality and quality of written report.

At the event, students will be given 10 to 15 minutes to present their thesis projects, which in the past have ranged from roller coaster designs to theoretical fluid dynamics studies to dehydrating toilets for use in Third World nations, and an additional five minutes to answer questions.  Beginning at 5 p.m., the students will participate in a poster session throughout Wilsdorf Hall’s main entry area.

Projects will be judged by a panel of leaders in various industries: William A. Cassada, director of research and applied engineering, Alcoa Technology; Mark Friedlander, director of engineering, ballistics, preliminary design and air breathing systems, Aeroject; Shavonne Gordon, operations analysis and project manager, Capital One; and Jim Hicks, vice president of business integration, Areva. In addition, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Hilary Bart-Smith and Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Maite Brandt-Pearce will serve as faculty judges. The top three individual presenters and the top team will each be awarded a cash stipend.

The following is a list of finalists who were selected to participate in the symposium and their research titles:


  • Ankit Jane: A Novel Laser Processing Technique for the Production of Complex Metal Nanoparticles
  • John Jameson: Synthesis of Bone Tissue Engineering Scaffolds with Varied Mechanical Properties
  • Ezekiel Fugate: A New Natural Coagulant for Household Water Purification in Developing Global Communities
  • Randi Saunders: The Novel Effects of Nitric Oxide on Smooth Muscle and Non-Muscle Myosin
  • Lauren Tietje: A Crisis Intervention System in Charlottesville, VA: Improving Interactions between the Criminal Justice and Mental Health Systems
  • Owen Miller: Modeling in the Coulomb Blockade Regime: Exploring the Capabilities and Limitations of the “Orthodox” Theory of Transort
  • Amelia Gunn: Town Center Development: Does it Support Sustainable Transportation
  • Henry Cook: Optimizing Chip Multiprocessor Designs Using Genetically Programmed Response Surfaces
  • Austin Lee: An Analysis of Aircraft Response to Wake Vortices


  • Alexis Bailey and Jennifer Saik: Labeling and Dynamically Tracking Human Adipose-Derived Stem Cells
  • James Eddy, Jeff Whittemore and Kyle Williams: Improving Treatment for Leishmania Infection: Evaluating In Silico Network Modeling as a Treatment Discovery Tool
  • Emily Ewell, Allison Hasting, Louise Montgomery and Marta Morales: Engineering a New Path to Study Abroad in SEAS: The Curricular Design Tool

About the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science

Founded in 1836, the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science combines research and educational opportunities at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  Within the undergraduate programs, courses in engineering, ethics, mathematics, the sciences and the humanities are available to build a strong foundation for careers in engineering and other professions. Its abundant research opportunities complement the curriculum and educate young men and women to become thoughtful leaders in technology and society. At the graduate level, the Engineering School collaborates with the University’s highly ranked medical and business schools on interdisciplinary research projects and entrepreneurial initiatives. With a distinguished faculty and a student body of 2,000 undergraduates and 650 graduate students, the Engineering School offers an array of engineering disciplines, including cutting-edge research programs in computer and information science and engineering, bioengineerin