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Rewarding Invention at the Dana Knox Research Showcase

Provost Fadi Deek with Kenneth Schlatmann '15, a Dana Knox award winner for his project on human consciousness.

An algae-based system for shrinking the energy consumption and carbon footprint of buildings and an assessment of the progress cognitive science has made toward an understanding of human consciousness tied for first place among undergraduate projects at the 2015 Dana Knox Student Research Showcase.

Entitled “A Glimpse into the Future,” the annual event this year featured 41 undergraduate and graduate student research projects exploring such diverse areas as big data-supported disease-risk analysis, next-generation energy infrastructure and novel purification techniques. Faculty judges selected three projects from both of the student groups for awards.

Mary Lopreiato, a member of a team of fourth-year architecture students who shared first prize, said her group was interested in improving the environmental profile of existing buildings. She and Samantha Bard, of Watchung, and Lauren Mclellan, of Burlington, designed a “micro-algae micro-façade” to grow algae for use as biomass and as a carbon sink in panels on a building’s exterior, among other beneficial applications.

The team of “architects who focus on applied research,” as she put it, used Mies van der Rohe’s Newark Pavilion apartments as a model. “This is a beautiful building that performs terribly,” she noted.

Kenneth Schlatmann ’15, a science, technology and society major from Manchester who shared first prize, said he’d been curious about the underpinnings of consciousness since high school and credited his major with allowing him the freedom to explore it in depth for his senior project.

Sahitya Allam ‘17, a freshman from Gainesville, Va. in the accelerated pre-medical program, won second prize for her research on the impact of inner-ear stimulation on the fine motor control skills of people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Joshua Ortega ’15, a senior majoring in information technology from Kearny, won 3rd place for developing a collaborative learning model that involves students in every stage of a problem’s life-cycle, from creation, to solution, to grading.

Ye Xiong, Turki Alelyani and Regina Collins, all doctoral students in information systems, won first place among graduate students for their project, “Can Social Media Make You Smarter? Knowledge Sharing via Social Media,” which examines the influence of different aspects of social capital on students’ knowledge sharing via social media in terms of quality and quantity.

Heng Wang, a Ph.D. student in chemistry, won second place for her project, “Dissociation and Oxidation Mechanism of Oxiranyl Radical: A Theoretical Study.” Lenka Kovalcinova, a doctoral student in mathematical sciences, won third place for her research project, “Percolation in Compressed Particulate Systems.”

Fadi Deek, provost and senior executive vice president, congratulated all of the participants for harnessing “both your technical and communications talents,” an exercise he promised would serve them well in their careers. Earlier in the day, the students had the chance to use both, as they described their research to members of NJIT’s Board of Visitors and Board of Advisors, who had gathered for an annual luncheon on campus in conjunction with the research showcase.