Brinkman Foundation Awards $75,000 to Fairfield University’s School of Engineering

Brinkman Foundation Awards $75,000 to Fairfield University’s School of Engineering

Ellie Hawthorne and Danielle Hawthorne in baja buggy workshop

(l-r) Ellie Hawthorne, president of the Brinkman Foundation, and her daughter Danielle Hawthorne, who is a trustee of the foundation, on a recent tour of the School of Engineering's baja buggy workshop.

A long-time supporter of Fairfield’s engineering programs, this latest grant from the Earl W. and Hildagunda A. Brinkman Private Charitable Foundation will further cutting-edge faculty research, promote team projects for engineering students, and provide vital new equipment for the Mechanical Engineering Department.

Of the $75,000 award, $30,000 will be allocated for laboratory equipment used to reinforce fundamental theories taught in engineering mechanics courses. The new equipment will be integrated into hands-on statics, dynamics, and strength of materials projects in labs for undergraduate School of Engineering (SOE) students.

Robotics classes will benefit from the generosity of the Brinkman Foundation as well, with $25,000 of the grant going toward funding of a new robot for two popular senior/graduate level courses, “Theory and Application of Robot Kinematics” and “Advanced Dynamics.” Both courses have been immensely popular in past years, and the updated robotics equipment will further enhance these advanced learning experiences for years to come.

The Brinkman Foundation grant will also support the research of assistant professor and Brinkman Family Professor of Micro and Nano Manufacturing, Sriharsha Sundarram, PhD. Dr. Sundarram was awarded $10,000 to work with high school, undergraduate, and graduate students on engineering projects that will expose them to nanostructured materials. Nanostructured materials are defined as bulk solids with nanoscale or partly nanoscale microstructures. Specifically, Dr. Sundarram will lead projects that focus on the fabrication of bio-artificial organs for holistic drug testing. This interdisciplinary research is collaborative and involves students and faculty from engineering and biology. There is a rapidly growing global demand for well-trained researchers in the fabrication and characterization of micro/nano structured materials, and the majority of these researchers will be recruited from university labs such as Dr. Sundarram’s, who have worked extensively with these materials.

The Society of Automotive Engineers’ Baja Buggy team, Stags Racing, will receive the remaining $10,000 of the $75.000 Brinkman Foundation grant to support student involvement in the design and fabrication of a new off-road, single-seat motorsport vehicle. The team’s goal is to race in a June 2019 competition in Rochester, N.Y., which is coincidentally also the home of the Brinkman Foundation. “We are aiming to finishing the building process of the Baja vehicle before the end of this semester so that we have ample time for testing and planning,” said Maxwell Vazquez ’21, president of Stags Racing.

“The Brinkman Foundation has provided us with guidance and leadership to enhance our mechanical engineering program. The financial support over the last decade has leveraged us to develop a state-of-art laboratory and educate career-ready engineers,” said Dr. Shahrokh Etemad, chair and professor of the Mechanical Engineering Department.

Tags:  School of Engineering,  Top Stories

Last modified: 11-07-18 11:59 AM

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