Nexus between Faculty’s Research and High School Community, RPI faculty guides a high school student towards US Navy Award for Outstanding Projects in Engineering, Mathematics, and Technology, 2012
A high school student (Wendy Willner) sought the research expertise of CEE faculty (Dr.Gadhamshetty), towards her project in Briarcliff High School Science Research Program, and won United States Navy Award for Outstanding Projects in Engineering, Mathematics, and Technology in March 2012. Wendy developed a novel prototype of Microbial fuel cell (MFC) that demonstrated electricity production from food wastes (e.g. apple skin, orange skin, banana skin, and yogurt). Wendy participated in Westchester County Science and Engineering Fair (WESEF) that involved 300 participants representing a range of projects in social sciences, medicine, botany, and engineering. The student's judge representing United States Navy was intrigued with the potential of Wendy's research, and honored her project with US Navy Award. Only four students were awarded this honor in 2012.
Wendy Willner is a junior at Briarcliff High School in Westchester County New York, she is a member of the National Honor Society, Math Honor Society, the Finance Club and Writers Circle Club. She is also a staff writer for the schools newspaper, the treasurer of Academic Challenge Team and Mock Trial Club, the sound engineer for the school plays. The Briarcliff High School Science Research program is an elective multi-year science research program that students begin as sophomores and complete at the conclusion of their senior year. Wendy chose Microbial Fuel Cells for her research topics and she need a professional scientist to perform original research. Professor Gadhamshetty agreed to be her research advisor and provide the relevant guidance; Wendy also received guidance from Dr.G's former student Brent Solina (a former RPI graduate and currently owns MICROrganic Technologies). The two introduced me to MFCs and have been mentoring me ever since.
Wendy looks forward to working with Professor Gadhamshetty and Brent Solina and continuing microbial fuel cell research in summer 2012. Her long term aspiration is to pursue higher studies in environmental or civil engineering.