Sky’s the Limit for NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium Awardees

Sky’s the Limit for NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium Awardees

School of Engineering students heeded the Call for Proposals and were awarded more than $5,000 in grant funding.

In support of undergraduate projects in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, NASA’s Connecticut Space Grant Consortium has awarded Fairfield University students in the School of Engineering funds to pursue three research and design projects.

Mechanical engineering student Robert Merlino ’21, along with team members Michael Kayal ’21, Cristian Zuniga ’21, and Maxwell Vazquez ’21, received funding for the research project “Investigation of Sand Ingestion in Aircraft Combustor Liner." Aircraft gas turbines operate in environments that have high levels of debris, which causes the gas turbine to become inefficient and deteriorate. The goal of this project is to study the effect of different operating parameters and to better understand sand particle tracking.

Ohsafa Isaiah Harding ’21, an electrical engineering major, was awarded funding for a senior design project titled “Assistive Robotic Arm for Wheelchairs,” which will be developed alongside a team of engineering classmates Alan Kristie ’21, Phuc Nguyen ’21, and Giles Ruck ’21. The team is developing a low-cost robotic arm by using a 3D-printed structure with five degrees of freedom and a repurposed user interface similar to a game console controller.

“With a universal mounting bracket supplied for mounting to a range of wheelchairs, this robotic arm will provide a safe and friendly solution to address the needs of wheelchair users whose arms may be occupied while operating the mobility aid,” Harding wrote.

Samuel Dorman ’21, a mechanical engineering major, and team members Cole Hansen ’21, Thiago Silva ’21, and Paul du Toit ’21 were awarded a grant for a senior design project titled “Integration of an Automated Jewelry Unpacking Method in Production.” Working with faculty advisor Michael Zabinski, PhD, the students will design an automated machine for Biometrics NLE that will deliver the company’s bags of charms, cut the bags open and remove the charms, discard the bags, place the charms in 100-quantity trays, stack the trays, and then shift the trays over to the engraving station all without people involved in the process.

In addition to project grants, the Connecticut Space Grant Consortium also awarded Stephanie Brij-Raj '21 a $3,000  Undergraduate Scholarship.

The NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium is a federally mandated grant, internship, and scholarship program that is funded as a part of NASA Education. The mission of the Consortium is to establish and promote NASA-related research opportunities that draw on the collaborative strength of private, academic, and government sectors and support education initiatives that inspire students to pursue STEM careers.

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