University’s First Annual Research Expo Celebrates Student Accomplishments

Sound Surround team members William Kapcio ’14 EE, John Hannah VSB ’14 and Kyle Hartner ’14 EE present to an audience of VSEC judges.
Sound Surround team members William Kapcio ’14 EE, John Hannah VSB ’14 and Kyle Hartner ’14 EE present to an audience of VSEC judges.

To recognize undergraduate accomplishments in research, innovation and creativity, Villanova University presented its first Undergraduate Research Exposition from April 21–25. The week’s activities were hosted by the four undergraduate colleges, as well as Falvey Memorial Library, the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, the Office of Research and Graduate Programs, and Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society. The Expo’s University-wide programs included the Falvey Scholars Presentations and Awards, Sigma Xi Research Poster Symposium, and Pitch Day.

Pitch Day
Presented by the Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship (ICE Center), Pitch Day is the largest of the Expo’s weeklong events. Students from across the University are given the opportunity to showcase their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, while gaining real-world experience in building an idea from the ground up. The program featured presentations from Villanova students participating in the fifth-annual Villanova Student Entrepreneurship Competition (VSEC), as well as the University’s Mobile Applications Course and Entrepreneurship Minor programs.

The College of Engineering is typically well-represented in Pitch Day activities, and this year was no exception. Engineering students were members of five of the eight VSEC finalist teams, including team Sound Surround, which placed third overall. Sound Surround members William Kapcio COE ’14, Kyle Hartner COE ’14 and John Hannah VSB ’14 presented an Android application that synchronizes multiple mobile devices’ audio output via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Direct for the purpose of amplifying volume. 

Meyer ICE Award winner, Cameron Piper, with Edward “Chip” Meyer ’86 VSB.
Meyer ICE Award winner, Cameron Piper, with Edward “Chip” Meyer ’86 VSB.


Pitch Day culminates with the ICE Center’s celebration and announcement of winning VSEC teams, and presentation of the Meyer Innovation and Creative Excellence (ICE) Awards. Created and endowed by Patrick Meyer ’74 VSB, the ICE award recognizes one student in each of the undergraduate colleges for a spirit of innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship that enhances the University. The 2014 College of Engineering Meyer Award recipient is Mechanical Engineering senior Cameron Piper ’14, who will earn a minor in Engineering Entrepreneurship.

The 2014 Falvey Scholar award for the College of Engineering was presented to Robert McGrane ’14 ChE
Robert McGrane ’14 ChE

Falvey Scholars Award

The Falvey Scholars Award is an annual program established by Falvey Memorial Library to recognize outstanding undergraduate research across five disciplines: Arts, Sciences, Engineering, Nursing and Business.

The 2014 Falvey Scholar award for the College of Engineering was presented to Robert McGrane ’14 ChE for his work on “Chitosan Thin-Films for Post-Surgical Drug Delivery.” With the guidance of his mentor, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering Noelle Comolli, PhD, Robert studied the use of chitosan as a means of providing internally localized and controlled drugs for post-surgical pain relief. In addition to the Falvey Award, his research earned him first place in the Delaware Valley Chapter of the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering Student Poster Competition (ISPE). 

Joseph Schaadt ’15 ME, Sigma Xi Best Undergradute Engineering Poster winner
Joseph Schaadt ’15 ME, Sigma Xi Best Undergradute Engineering Poster winner

Sigma Xi Student Research Poster Symposium

Sigma Xi is the international honor society for research scientists and engineers. The Villanova chapter sponsors this annual poster symposium to recognize and celebrate student research, and to give students an opportunity to further develop their skills in communicating their accomplishments. More than 60 students university-wide, including five undergraduate and seven graduate engineering students, displayed their work at the Sigma Xi Research Poster Symposium.

Receiving the award for the best undergraduate engineering research poster was Joseph Schaadt ’15 ME for “Development of an Experimental Rig to Measure the Transient Response of Crossflow Heat Exchanger.” Joseph conducted his research in the Laboratory for Advanced Thermal and Fluid Systems under Alfonso Ortega, PhD, Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Programs, and director of the Center for Energy-Smart Electronic Systems.

Di Zhang, a doctoral candidate, won the Sigma Xi best poster award for a graduate engineering student. His research was titled “Effects of Atomic Layer Deposition on the Mechanical Behavior of Nano-Colloidal Crystals.” Gang Feng, PhD, assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering, is his advisor. 

The symposium also featured “Diagnostics of Nonlinear Dynamic Systems with Applications to Machinery and Medicine,” a keynote presentation by C. Nataraj, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

The College of Engineering

As part of the weeklong Villanova University Undergraduate Research Exposition, the College of Engineering departments held their annual senior poster and project days. For more about those programs, see “Seniors Present Their Best.”