Building Bridges – Fall 2023

Last Friday, (December 8, 2023) the Center for STEM Education at Northeastern University, with the College of Engineering/Admissions, hosted the fall 2023 edition of our Building Bridges event. 134 students from 40 different schools in 7 states came to learn about various engineering topics with Northeastern faculty and PhD students (see list of sessions below).

The day started with a welcome from the Center for STEM Education’s executive director Claire Duggan and associate director Jennifer Love, followed by an introduction to the university from associate COE dean Susan Freeman and student engagement director Lisa DeBenedictis, wrapping up with an admissions overview. Students then attended two sessions they selected based on their engineering interests – from the list below. During lunch, attendees asked questions they had about Northeastern, student life, majors, co-op, sports, etc to a panel of Northeastern students: Caroline Millard (PhD Chemistry), Nicholas Scaperdas (BioE ’24), Leona Ripple (Biochem ’25), Talin Calikyan (MechE ’25), and Franklin Ollivierre (CivE ’26). Northeastern student group Mars Rover then talked about and gave a hands-on demonstration with their rover – allowing students to touch and drive the rover around. The day concluded with an engineering campus tour led by Northeastern students, who answered any remaining questions.

Thank you to all faculty members, PhD students, staff members, and volunteers for your help today and making this event possible (and thank you attendees for coming! Almost 90% turnout, which was fantastic! – also 100% of attendees recommend this to a friend!).

  • Prof. Qing Zhao: Catalysis Mitigates Climate Change

BioEngineering / Biology Sessions:
(Bio) Prof. Javier Apfeld: Strategic Thinking by Worms: How do they Deal with Harmful Chemicals in the Environment?
Learn about the strategies that C. elegans worms use to deal with the damaging effects of hydrogen peroxide – and why that matters

(BioE) Vasuretha Chandar: Constructing Nature’s Ultimate LEGO: Assembling cellular frameworks
Build a toy model of the cellular cytoskeleton and learn how it helps cells adapt to dynamic changes in the extracellular environment

(BioE) Prof. Mingyang Lu: Systems Biology Modeling of Gene Circuits with Graphics
Learn about modeling gene regulatory circuits without the need of programming based only on web-based visualization

(Bio/ECE) Prof. Dagmar Sternad: Control of Human Movements
Learn more about how humans move through experimental set-ups for human data collection

Civil / Environmental Engineering [CEE] Sessions
(CEE) Prof. Loretta Fernandez: Environmental Contaminant Identification using Thin Layer Chromatography
Use thin-layer chromatography to separate chemical mixtures and identify environmental contaminants

Chemical Engineering [ChE] Sessions
(ChE) Prof. Damilola Daramola: A Mine is a Terrible Thing to Waste
Learn more about how things can be re-used: wastewater remediation and resource recovery from mines

(ChE) Prof. Qing Zhao: Catalysis Helps Mitigate Climate Change
Learn how nitrogen gas, carbon dioxide, and water can be used as sustainable inputs for chemical synthesis using catalysis

Electrical / Computer Engineering [ECE] Sessions
(ECE) Profs. Jornet, Basagni, & Polese: Engineering the Next Generation of Wireless Communication Networks
Learn more about next-gen wireless networks: presentation, activity, and tour of Institute of Wireless Things

(ECE) Prof. Alireza Ramezani: Bioinspired Robotics
Learn more about robots inspired by nature

Mechanical / Industrial Engineering [MIE] Sessions
(MIE) Prof. Michael Allshouse & MIE Students: MIE Capstone Preview
Meet with and view the capstone projects of various MIE capstone groups and learn more about mechanical/industrial engineering from NEU seniors

(MIE) Prof. Cynthia Hajal: Microfluidic Devices to Study Cancer
Learn what microfluidic devices are and how they can be used to model tissues, study cancer progression, and mimic drug delivery to tumors

(MIE/ECE) Prof. Yongmin Liu: Illusion Optics
Build your own 3D hologram pyramid and invisibility cloak that help you to understand the fundamentals of optical transmission, reflection, refraction, and imaging.

(MIE) Echo St. Germain: Engineering with Fire
Learn about the physics of fire and why understanding combustion is critical for green energy solutions

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