This Senior Is Doing Research at Stanford University

Stanford University accepted NJIT's Steve Susanibar into its summer research program.

Steve Susanibar will spend the summer doing research at Stanford University.  He was accepted into a competitive internship program that will allow him to work in one of Stanford’s most prominent labs.

The internship, called the Summer Research Program-Early Identification Program, encourages minority students to study science in graduate school.  It comes with a stipend that will pay for him to live in a Stanford dorm and to do research in the Geballe Laboratory for Advanced Materials (GLAM).

In that lab, he’ll assist a Stanford research group in characterizing high-temperature superconductors -- research that could ultimately lower electrical bills by enhancing the efficiency of the nation’s power lines.  

“I start this week and I'm looking forward to meeting my lab group and learning about the exotic crystal-growth techniques used in the GLAM lab,” says Steve, a senior in the Albert Dorman Honors College who majors in physics. 

It's not the first time that Steve has done research at a leading university.  In the summer after his freshman year, he conducted research at Princeton University, where he programed an integrated circuit to count particles of light. That research, part of the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), was funded by the National Science Foundation.

At NJIT, Steve has worked on two research projects. Under the direction of Professor Nuggehalli Ravindra, he designed a contactless gear system that uses strong magnets rather than traditional gears. The system, which is safer than current gearing mechanisms, could be used in large industrial machinery.

His second research project, advised by Professor Gordon Thomas, aimed to develop a safety device that can tell soldiers if the rounds in their ammunition boxes are damaged or safe to use.  Sometimes, due to heat or jostling, ammo boxes can malfunction on the battlefield. This device, called the vibration-powered-impact-recorder, will allow soldiers to keep tabs on their ammo and could help to save their lives.  He did this research as a scholar in NJIT’s Ronald E. McNair Achievement Program, which prepares minority students from low-income families for graduate school.

Steve is a first-generation college student.  Neither of his parents have a college degree. His father was born in Lima, Peru and his mother in Bogota, Colombia. His mother works as a bus driver and his father runs a construction and telecommunications company.  He grew up in Butler, N.J., and attended Butler High School.

At NJIT, he’s not only a scholar but also a campus leader. He founded a science and innovation club, the Science and Engineering Innovation Lab (SEIL), which unites students interested in science and engineering and lets them showcase their ingenuity by building science demonstrations for the classroom. 

"From the beginning, NJIT has always helped to fund my education,” says Steve. “My time at NJIT would’ve been much harder had it not been for the support from the McNair Research Program, Student Support Services Program, the Honors College and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.  I'm grateful for all the opportunities NJIT has presented me with, especially this latest opportunity to spend the summer at Stanford.”

By Robert Florida