Engineering doctoral candidates Juan Pablo Correa Baena and Lu Han, GK-12 Fellows supported by a National Science Foundation grant, recently received travel grant funding from the NASA Connecticut Space Grant College Consortium.
The funds will allow Juan Pablo and Lu to travel to the NASA Great Moonbuggy Race, to be held in Huntsville, Alabama in April, with students from Connecticut Technical High Schools where the GK-12 Fellows are embedded. As competitors in the Moonbuggy Race, the student teams will design and manufacture a moonbuggy vehicle from recycled bicycles donated by local bike shops. The completed vehicles must then prove their superior maneuverability, stability and speed in a race over simulated Martian terrain.
Bringing Comfort to Newtown
In response to the unfathomable Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in Newtown, CT last month, one of UConn Engineering’s own, Sharon L. McDermott, a Program Coordinator in the Undergraduate Program Office, joined a team of handlers and registered therapy dogs during the holidays to bring comfort to children and adults dealing with the trauma of that horrific event. The group, which is associated with the Tails-U-Win Dog Training Center in Manchester, CT, is working with Newtown authorities to reprise their visit as the community continues to navigate the healing process.
Sharon’s dog, Cooper, is a five-year old purebred English Setter registered with Delta Society. Sharon reports that to become certified, prospective therapy dogs and their handlers must pass three levels of certification and testing. The process usually takes about a year. Sharon became involved in the program soon after losing her mother to breast cancer and witnessing the degree of comfort provided by her mother’s dog during her final days. Cooper and Sharon have an additional security clearance to visit Eastern Connecticut Health Network (ECHN) affiliated hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities. View more photos here.
ME Alumni and Friends Celebrate
On October 27, 2012, faculty and staff from the Mechanical Engineering (ME) Department hosted a gathering of approximately 60 ME alumni, friends and emeriti faculty members. The day’s events combined informative and social activities, and included presentations by Department Head Baki Cetegen and Provost Mun Y. Choi, who is a professor of Mechanical Engineering as well as UConn’s chief academic officer.
Visitors were treated to a barbecue luncheon followed by lab tours and demonstrations on virtual reality, cardiovascular mechanics, gas turbine engines as well as mini lectures on sustainable energy and novel sensors in mechanical engineering. Concurrently, family members were free to tour campus, visit the animal barns and enjoy award-winning ice cream at UConn’s Dairy Bar. The day’s events concluded with dinner. Dr. Cetegen said the success of this first-ever event, and the enthusiasm expressed by attendees, makes it a certainty the Alumni Days will be reprised in future years.