Spring Research Expo Recognizes Engineering’s Finest

Alfonso Ortega, PhD, associate vice president for research and graduate programs and director of Villanova’s Center for Energy-Smart Electronic Systems; Joseph Schaadt ’15 ME; and Aaron Wemhoff, PhD, associate professor of Mechanical Engineering.
Alfonso Ortega, PhD, associate vice president for research and graduate programs and director of Villanova’s Center for Energy-Smart Electronic Systems; Joseph Schaadt ’15 ME; and Aaron Wemhoff, PhD, associate professor of Mechanical Engineering.

April 17–24, 2015 marked the second annual Villanova Spring Research Expo, a weeklong series of events celebrating the scholarly achievements of the University's researchers—undergraduates, graduate students and faculty. In addition to college-specific presentations each day, the week also included the campus-wide Falvey Scholars Presentation and Sigma Xi Student Research Poster Symposium.

Falvey Scholars Award Presentation

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

The 2015 Falvey Scholar Award for the College of Engineering was presented to Joseph Schaadt ’15 ME for “Load Capacity and Thermal Efficiency Optimization of a Research Data Center Using Computational Modeling.” The objective of the study was to develop a procedure to define the optimal operating points and design layout of a data center while still meeting design constraints. The ultimate project goal is to reduce data center energy consumption, which accounts for nearly 2 percent of the country’s energy use.

When introducing Joseph, Dr. Aaron Wemhoff, associate professor of Mechanical Engineering and one of Joseph’s mentors, described him as “the most ambitious student he has ever met.” Since his sophomore year, Joseph has presented his work at nearly a dozen professional and student research conferences. Along with the Falvey Award, this project took first place in the 2014 Undergraduate Research and Design Expo at the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition.

Upon accepting the award, Joseph acknowledged his mentors, Drs. Wemhoff, Mathematics Professor Joseph Pigeon, and Kamran Fouladi, former Villanova adjunct professor of Mechanical Engineering and now a visiting professor at Widener University’s School of Engineering. He also expressed his gratitude to Dr. Alfonso Ortega for giving him his first research opportunity. Dr. Ortega is the University’s associate vice president for research and graduate programs and director of Villanova’s Center for Energy-Smart Electronic Systems, a National Science Foundation/Industry/University Cooperative Research Center through which Joseph has conducted most of his research. 

Paul Campo ’15 ChE (left) presents his award-winning research at the Sigma Xi Student Research Poster Symposium.
Paul Campo ’15 ChE (left) presents his award-winning research at the Sigma Xi Student Research Poster Symposium.

Sigma Xi

Sigma Xi is the international honor society for research scientists and engineers. Each year, the Villanova student chapter sponsors a poster symposium to recognize and celebrate students’ work. This year, the outstanding poster award for engineering is being shared by two students: Joseph Schaadt and Paul Campo ’15 ChE. Joseph presented the same research that won him the Falvey Award, and Paul was recognized for “High Temperature CO2 Capture for Sorption Enhanced Methane Production.” Paul’s research contributes to the progress being made toward “green” methane, a carbon neutral fuel for power production. His advisors from the department of Chemical Engineering were Drs. Charles Coe, research associate professor, and Michael A. Smith, associate professor.

 

 

Pitch Day

In addition to research-specific activities, the Spring Research Expo includes Pitch Day, a celebration of student innovation and creativity across campus. Pitch Day features the annual Villanova Student Entrepreneurship Competition, and presentations by students in the Mobile Applications course and the Entrepreneurship Minor programs. The day concludes with a poster session, engineering trade show, and the announcement of Pitch Day winners and the 2015 Meyer Innovation and Creative Excellence (ICE) Award recipients. To learn more, see “Engineering Students Knock it Out of the Park on Pitch Day.”