student in lab
Katherine Leister (CE)

As the mercury climbs toward triple digits, construction and summer classes aren’t the only buzz on Temple’s campus. The College of Engineering also implemented its inaugural undergraduate summer research program. The 10-week, hands-on program offered stipends to engineering students who partnered with faculty and postdoctoral students on various research activities.

The new program is open to all students, exclusive of merit scholar eligibility, as long as applicants have a 2.75 GPA or higher. We talked to a few of the students about their experience and what they picked up as they got a head start on the coming fall semester.

"I'm working on two projects: one entails adjusting a commercial synthetic polymer to make it more efficient in removing emerging contaminants from water. The other is the research and development of a product that would be able to indicate the presence of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in industrial waste water quickly and accurately,"  said Katherine Leister, who started as a student worker in Civil & Environmental Engineering.

“I think I have also become considerably less clumsy because I'm so often running fragile samples around. I don't necessarily see myself doing research as a career, but to be so hands on with these developments is really exciting,” she added.

Cross-disciplinary opportunities were a draw for some students, like John Nowacki, a bioengineering major who took a position with the WET Center.

"I was exposed to things I never would have over a normal summer," Nowacki said. "I was happy to spend my summer with PhD students and postdocs. It was very valuable to pick their brains and understand their experiences. I took everything I could get out of this internship this summer.”

Giovanni Asaro (ECE) joined Assistant Professor Liang Du a graduate student Shengyi Wang on a project involving machine learning, big data, and home power consumption.

"Shengyi has been working on energy disaggregation, which is when you take the general aggregate power consumption of a household, and split it up according to the individual appliances or loads in the house. The goal is to use machine learning to predict what appliances were active at what times without actually knowing the measurements of each appliance, only the aggregate signal and the estimated power usage of the appliances beforehand," Asaro said.

Does it beat the beach? Not for us to say. But for David Schmidt (ECE), another summer researcher, it’s where he wants to be.

"It’s honestly what you make of it. You can challenge yourself every day, work at your pace and make a name for yourself. I've learned a lot because there's nothing else I'd rather be doing," he said. 

There are always ways to participate in research going on at the College. To learn more about how to get involved and the Undergraduate Summer Research Program, contact the Center for Academic Advising and Student Affairs.