Fairfield University - School of Engineering Update - 2024

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SCHOOL OF

ENGINEERING & COMPUTING

U P DAT E FAIRFIELD UNIVERSITY | SPRING 2024

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Message from the Dean

ON THE COVER:

Dr. Belfadel and students conduct drone research on campus.

Contents

Photo by Fairfield University Media Center

O

SCHOOL OF

ur commitment to deliver the best Jesuit engineering education has never been stronger. I invite you to browse through our latest issue, which highlights several stories depicting how our students, faculty, and graduates strive to serve our communities as well as

one another. This issue features the story of two entrepreneurial Fairfield alumni whose commitment to carbon neutrality and sustainability has positioned their business, Aquila’s Nest, as the best vineyard in the state of Connecticut. You will read how a student veteran’s experience in a disaster relief deployment inspired him to participate in research for drone navigation in GPS-denied environments, with the aim of supporting humanitarian efforts. You will also learn how research in our Community Situated Biomechanics Laboratory is helping to prevent sports

OUR PURPOSE

To help our students on their path to a better future and towards becoming the best version of themselves. We do this by providing educational opportunities and by accompanying them during their personal and spiritual growth.

injuries. Our School has been thriving and continues to grow its enrollment, faculty numbers, and research facilities. While we just unveiled our new name and identity as the new School of Engineering and Computing, we remain steadfastly devoted to our purpose of accompanying our students during these formative years they share

ENGINEERING & COMPUTING

U P DAT E

Andres Leonardo Carrano, PhD Dean & Professor of Mechanical Engineering Harvey Hoffman, EdD Associate Dean Jessica Guarneri, MS Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Studies Uma Balaji, PhD Chair, Department of Electrical and Biomedical Engineering Shahrokh Etemad, PhD Chair, Department of Mechanical Engineering Xiaoli (Lucy) Yang, PhD Chair, Department of Computer Science Mirco Speretta, PhD Director, Cybersecurity and Data Science Susan Freudzon, PhD Director, Biomedical Engineering

with us.

Phil Maroney Director of Development

Sincerely,

Sara Colabella ’08, MA’11 Associate Director Integrated Marketing Nancy (Gelston) Dobos ’91 Designer

An dre s Leonardo Carrano, PhD Dean & Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Send Inquiries to: School of Engineering Fairfield University 1073 North Benson Road Fairfield, CT 06824-5195 203-254-4147 fairfield.edu/engineering Follow us on social media: FairfieldUniversitySOE

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Navigation

Key Shift Student Spotlight: Mechanical Engineering Student Gabriel Grant ’23 Two Fairfield Engineers Say ‘Carpe Vinum’! The Cutting Edge: Sriharsha Sundarram, PhD, Researches New Topologies Engineers in Motion I Know What You Did Last Summer (Answer: Tested Research Hypotheses) Accurate Lock and Hardware Design Center Unveiled

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Navigation

BY THE NUMBERS

TOP 5 TOP 125

Jesuit Universities

Best National Universities U.S. News & World Report

75%

Engineering Students Participating in One or More Industry Internships

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Engineering Students Participate in Undergraduate Research

14:1

Undergraduate Student-to-Professor Ratio

OUT OF

O

Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce

100% Placement Rate

six months after graduation*

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ABOVE: Emily Alfonso-Olmos ’27, Reem

Kharbouch ’27, Dr. Belfadel, Sophia Haber Brock ’26, and Gabriel Grant ’23. RIGHT: The students built the drones in-house using 3D printers.

Photos by Fairfield University Media Center

ne morning last summer, engineering student Gabriel Grant ’23 demonstrated a first-person view of a drone flying across campus. Wearing goggles, his fellow researchers watched as the drone zipped around, over buildings, lawns, and walkways. The flight over Stag Country was part of an ongoing drone navigation research study by the School of Engineering and Computing, in which Class of 2025 undergraduate researchers Lorenzo Arabia, Joseph Borges, Luke Conte, Aldino Guadagnino, and Claudia Hepfer are working with associate professor of electrical and biomedical engineering Djedjiga “Gigi” Belfadel, PhD. Their research is focused on developing an alternative navigation system that allows drones to execute autonomous missions with high precision, even in environments that lack reliable GPS (Global Positioning System) signals. Dr. Belfadel, whose particular area of expertise is drone navigation, noted that the inspiration for this research stemmed from the potential to use unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), in disaster response, defense, and entertainment. “Our research is groundbreaking,” she said, “because it directly tackles a significant limitation in drone navigation, that is, its dependency on the availability of GPS.” The team’s research led to the development of a navigation system capable of operating in the absence of a GPS signal, an improvement in the reliability and effectiveness of drone performance, which, according to Dr. Belfadel, “becomes extremely important in disaster response or defense, where GPS signals may be unreliable or unavailable.” “Central to this project,” she explained, “is the design of an advanced sensor fusion algorithm, which operates exclusively on data obtained from onboard sensors. This ensures continuous drone operations regardless of GPS

availability. A critical aspect of our research involves testing these algorithms under real-world conditions. However, such validation necessitates tests made with commercially available drones.” With this in mind, Dr. Belfadel and the engineering students adopted an innovative, cost-effective strategy to design and build their own test drones, with the dual purpose of creating a critical platform for testing navigation algorithms while also addressing an existing gap in the availability of affordable, U.S.-made drones for research and educational pursuits. During the program’s initial phase, students went through vigorous training to obtain their FAA drone licenses. Under Dr. Belfadel’s instruction, they then wired, soldered, and assembled two fully operational drones, printing parts on the University’s 3D printers and equipping the devices with software to collect in-flight data. Once assembled, the team took the drones outdoors to conduct maneuverability tests, following FAA guidelines. During flight sessions, they collected data that allowed them to evaluate each drone’s performance and operational coordination. At the conclusion of every flight, the team conducted a structured debrief to discuss accomplishments and areas for improvement. This student-led research initiative is significant, said Dr. Belfadel, in that it offers students practical, hands-on experience in UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) technology. Poised to revolutionize the use of drone navigation, she described how the team’s research “creates a system that allows drones to operate safely, dependably, and autonomously in areas that lack GPS signals. Moreover, the drones built by the students provide a platform for gathering meaningful data, which is crucial for testing and refining our S navigation algorithms.” l

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Key Shift S

chool of Engineering and Computer Science Dean Andres Leonardo Carrano, PhD, announced a change to the name of the school last summer. A professor of mechanical engineering — and a fourth-generation engineer — Dr. Carrano explained that the change reflects the burgeoning interest in the field of computer science on Fairfield’s campus and in the world at large. “If you look at our enrollment over the past five years, the most rapidly growing department in our engineering school is Computer Science,” he said. “And it’s not unique to us, but with the advent of artificial intelligence, data science and analytics, and cybersecurity…there has been significant interest from incoming students as well as prospective employers.” Fairfield’s School of Engineering and Computing (SEC) was listed again this year among the top 100 (non-doctoral) engineering programs in the country by U.S. News and World Report, and boasts a 14:1 student professor ratio as well as a 100-percent employment rate of students surveyed six-months after graduation. The school has offered degrees in the disciplines of engineering and computer science for decades, but one area that has recently shown particular strength is cybersecurity, on both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. “We try to engage our online graduate students just as we would our on-campus undergraduate students,” said Mirco Speretta, PhD, director of the SEC’s Cybersecurity program. “We offer many different projects for them to work on, including community engagement with local nonprofits.” These projects are what make Fairfield’s graduate program in cybersecurity so unique. In one example, teams of grad students tackle the cybersecurity needs of the Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport. During their capstone semester, they conduct scans, probe the diocese’s network for exposures

“There are very few professions more impactful than engineering and computer science — that can actually play a critical role in enhancing social progress and improving quality of life through technology and innovation.” Andres Leonardo Carrano, PhD

that hackers could exploit, and deliver a comprehensive report including all vulnerabilities that are found. “It’s a realwork experience for them,” Dr. Speretta said. Engineering students also provide ongoing cybersecurity support to the University as a whole. Through a partnership between the SEC and the University’s Information Technology Services (ITS) division, which runs Fairfield’s network infrastructure, a state-of-the-art Security Operations Center opened, allowing security-cleared undergraduates to help guard the campus against cyberattacks. The SEC also opened an Innovation Annex space last year, and this fall will launch an Artificial Intelligence Lab. Traditional keystone events continue — such as Hackathon, a hacking and coding competition, and Walk on Water, a high-stakes design project for first-year students — while other mission-driven initiatives take flight. A new computer science track designed by the SEC is currently being offered through Fairfield Bellarmine, the University’s fledgling associate’s degree program for low-income and S first-generation students in the Greater Bridgeport area. l

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STUDENT SPOTLIGHT:

MECHANICAL ENGINEERING STUDENT GABRIEL GRANT ’23 Tell us about your background and what sparked your interest in drones. After high school, I enlisted in the Marine Corps and served four years as a USMC infantry rifleman, taking me on deployments to Iraq in 2007, through the Mediterranean Sea in 2009, and responding to the Haiti earthquake in 2010. After my Marine Corps service, I returned to a high school job as an auto body technician, where I worked for nearly eight years. However, with the birth of my daughter, I realized I needed a change. This is when I embarked on my college studies and developed a keen interest in drones. Over the years, I’ve rebuilt numerous quadcopters and even designed and built my own, using off-the-shelf components. Can you describe your research? Following a summer research project, I continue to work on the two quadcopters that our team constructed. Our research focuses on the central fusion phase of autonomous flight in GPS-denied environments. In this phase, we conduct data acquisition flights using various sensors and integrate the data into a working simulation. Thanks to the work our team accomplished over the summer, the quadcopters are now equipped for these tasks. Having live data from flying quadcopters creates a dynamic environment for data collection. Presently, I’m collaborating with John Cain, a graduate student, to prepare for data acquisition flights using optical flow sensors mounted on the undercarriage of our previously built quadcopters. Additionally, our research has led to collaboration with a New Jersey-based quadcopter company where I’m working on setting up a test stand for motors and

electronic speed controllers. This stand includes load cells and optical measurement sensors to determine the optimal RPM and thrust capabilities of different motors. How has conducting this research enhanced your college experience? Transitioning my hobby into the academic and professional realm has given me a sense of purpose, and the potential to turn my passion into a viable career. This is a significant shift from my previous role as an auto body technician, which I found to be physically demanding and not particularly fulfilling. The prospect of pursuing a career in quadcopters and multirotor aerial vehicles motivates me to work even harder to achieve my goals. Do you plan on continuing this research in the future? Yes, I absolutely plan to continue my research in sensor fusion and the capabilities of autonomous flight in challenging environments. I hope to maintain close connections with my faculty advisors and collaborate to identify systems capable of the autonomous flight we’re striving for. I see immense potential in this field, and it has shown remarkable growth during the few years I’ve been involved. From being a niche interest on YouTube, FPV flight has expanded to serving major Hollywood productions. I aspire to S integrate multirotors and electric flight into my future career. l LEFT: Gabriel Grant ’23 and Dr. Belfadel work on the drone design in the lab.

Photo by Fairfield University Media Center

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TWO FAIRFIELD ENGINEERS SAY

‘Carpe Vinum’!

Nestled among the rolling hills of Newtown, Conn., there’s a 41-acre patch of paradise that owes its beginnings to two Fairfield University engineers.

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quila’s Nest Vineyard was the dream of Ardian Llomi ’11, MS’14 and his wife Neviana Zhgaba ’11, MS’13, who met back in their native Albania and whose romance blossomed through their years of study at Fairfield University. Having spent his childhood frolicking on a farm by the Baltic Sea, Llomi wanted the same kind of living-close-to-the-earth experience for his own children. In 2016, when the couple first set eyes on the 200-year old Newtown farm, they knew their dream was about to start. Converting the farm into a winery took time, grit, and patience. “We spent our afternoons and weekends working in the vineyard for four long years, sleeping in a tent and building up everything from scratch,” recalled Zhgaba, who graduated from Fairfield with a degree in software engineering. “Ardian figured out everything — from the process of planting 10 acres of vineyards, to the equipment we needed and how it should be used, to the wine-making process and the best way to do it.” A mechanical engineer, Llomi also built the winery’s 4,000-square-foot brushed steel production facility, which includes a tasting room and opens to an outdoor terrace. Aquila’s Nest Vineyard, which the couple calls an

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experience-focused event venue, opened its doors to the public in October 2020. A theme runs through the winery, reinforced on every bottle of wine sold: the celebration and empowerment of women. Each wine is named after a woman from ancient history or from mythology, explained Zhgaba. There’s a Princess of Troy merlot, for example, and the Sybil dry rosé, while the Queen of Illyria red blend is the vineyard’s signature offering. In a nod to the couple’s love of astronomy, each wine label carries the image of a constellation. Zhgaba also makes it a point to hire female chefs, musicians, and artisans for myriad weekly events, which can include yoga, psychic readings, or karaoke. The consequences of climate change are clearly on the minds of Aquila’s owners. After all, no one is affected by extreme weather changes more than farmers, said Zhgaba, who noted that 2022’s exceptionally dry summer made for a lean grape harvest. With the purchase of carbon credits, the winery has been certified as climate neutral; indeed, sustainability is evident from the compostable dining materials to the fallen wood used for heating. There are plans to install solar panels within the year, and, in homage to Llomi’s childhood spent climbing trees and gathering

cherries, the couple has planted 50 cherry trees. Becoming a fully carbon-neutral enterprise is part of the duo’s five-year plan. “We were voted the best vineyard in the state by Connecticut Magazine in 2023,” said Zhgaba, who maintains her connection to Fairfield with her position on the School of Engineering and Computing’s Executive Board of Advisors. Aquila’s Nest is also the site of the much-anticipated summer social event that brings together the School’s board members, as well as faculty and their families every June. She handles much of the business end of the winery, putting her background in data and analytics to good use while juggling her job at the Bank of New York Mellon. As for giving their two young sons that living–close-to-theearth childhood? The boys, ages eight and ten, clearly relish their oversized outdoor playground, and “they both want to S be engineers,” said Zhgaba proudly. l

LEFT: Aquila’s Nest Vineyard is a 200-acre farm located in Newton, Conn. ABOVE FROM LEFT: Each wine is named after a woman from ancient history or mythology. The vineyard hosts a variety of events throughout the year including Fairfield University alumni events.

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THE CUTTING EDGE: SRIHARSHA SUNDARRAM, PHD, RESEARCHES NEW TOPOLOGIES

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esearch being done by Sriharsha Sundarram, PhD, involves triply periodic minimal surface (TPMS) structures: lightweight yet mechanically strong materials that have garnered attention across industries seeking greater energy efficiency and lightweight designs. Dr. Sundarram, the Brinkman Family associate professor of mechanical engineering, traveled to Spain and France this summer on a two-fold mission: to establish research and study abroad collaborations with faculty and students from the Jesuit Instituto Químico de Sarría (IQS) in Barcelona and the Institut Catholique D’Arts et Métiers (ICAM) in France, and to present his research on TPMS structures at the second ICAM International Days conference in Toulouse. IQS has recently become a study abroad partner for the School of Engineering and Computing. The school is creating a master’s level program, and Dr. Sundarram expects that some of those students will come to Fairfield to complete their research and thesis work. While in France, he met with faculty from other universities, hoping to establish research collaborations with engineers also working on TPMS structures. “There are a lot of people working on these structures, which are highly porous but at the same time have good mechanical properties,” explained Dr. Sundarram. TPMS structures mimic the porosity and strength found in natural materials, such as bones, woods, and corals. They exhibit good performance when used as a filter or as a heat exchanger, because they have a large and smooth surface area. The structures themselves are defined by mathematical equations, which made them impossible to manufacture in the past. With the advent of 3D printing, they can be lab-manufactured using plastics, polymers, or metals. They can even be made with composite materials — glass fiber mixed with plastic, for example

– to make them even stronger. TPMS structures made of metal or composites can be used for the outer shells of planes. “For our research, we focused on TPMS structures with energy-absorbing abilities,” said Dr. Sundarram. “These strong, lightweight structures have potential applications for the bumpers of automobiles or for use in aerospace.” Mechanical engineering grad students Shaun Ormiston MS’23 and Dylan Weber ’21, MS’22 spent many hours in the lab under Dr. Sundarram’s guidance. Weber, who currently works as an airframe design engineer at Boeing in Los Angeles, said that the aim of their graduate lab research was “the application of mathematical equations to generate solid models, and figuring out how to fabricate the structures using additive manufacturing [3D printing].” Once fabricated, the students tested their structures and ran analyses to determine the mechanical properties. “We grabbed those data points and formed graphs to help visualize the behavior of their properties,” said Weber. “We could then take that data and infer various applications in the aerospace and automotive industries.” “We found that using a foaming technique in the manufacturing process made our prototypes more porous and therefore lighter,” Dr. Sundarram said. “However, they can still withstand a great deal of load, so they can replace a solid material.” Since lighter cars and planes are more fuel efficient, these structures could be game changers. Dr. Sundarram and his students have had their work published in Polymer Engineering and Science, and in Polymer Composites. This past summer, the engineering professor received a grant from the NASA Connecticut Space Consortium to study the effectiveness of TPMS structures for space vehicles, with a focus on thermal protection for S spacecraft as they reenter the earth’s atmosphere.” l

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New Metal 3D Printer Supports Faculty Research The School of Engineering and Computing recently procured a metal 3D printer, Rapidia Conflux, to support faculty research. The new printer utilizes a water-based metal paste to print green parts that are sintered in a furnace. This eliminates toxic chemicals and fumes, making it an environmentally friendly process. In addition, the procedure is fast, creating metal parts in less than 24 hours.

LEFT: Dr. Sundarram using the new 3D printer for his research on

triply periodic minimal surface structures. ABOVE:The Rapidia Conflux 3D printer prints metal parts in less

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Engineers in Motion O

ne morning this past spring, School of Engineering and Computing graduate assistant and former Division I field hockey player Laia Vancells-Lopez was wearing electromyography sensors attached to her body to measure muscle activation patterns in her lower leg. The exercises she was performing were part of an ongoing biomechanical engineering study in the Community Situated Biomechanics Lab, located in the Innovation Annex on the southwest corner of campus. Vancells-Lopez completed a series of jumps and exercises while assistant professor of biomedical engineering John Drazan, PhD, and graduate research assistant John Minogue viewed the data on a large screen on the lab’s back wall. Their research is focused on musculoskeletal biomechanics — the study of how people move, how they get injured, and how to prevent injuries. It is a subject Dr. Drazan is deeply passionate about. Dr. Drazan is not your ordinary engineer researcher. A former college basketball player, he wasn’t originally interested in pursuing a career in the STEM field. That all changed, he said, when his high school physics teacher showed him how to apply physics to sports. “He introduced me to the entire field of sports science,

and all of a sudden I knew why I had been learning calculus and physics. I could use the impulse momentum theorem (a formula for calculating how the power of an impulse translates into action) to calculate how high I could jump, based on the force I’m producing. Or, use parabolic arcs to understand how the ball goes into the basket when I take a jump shot. This was transformative for me.” “Sports, and studying sports through a scientific lens, was the spark that led me into my entire career,” Dr. Drazan continued, “so being able to do biomechanics research now professionally, both for musculoskeletal health and sports performance, is outrageously exciting.” The Achilles tendon, Dr. Drazan’s particular area of research, is a band of tissue vital to ankle biomechanics and general human movement. The ankle, he explained, rotates when you’re tipping forward. This energy is stored in the tendon, then released to push yourself forward to be caught by the other leg – offering humans a very energy-efficient mode of locomotion. To further his injury prevention research, Dr. Drazan collects data to better understand the biomechanics of the ankle. Both in the lab and outside, he uses a combination of state-of-the-art equipment and low-cost, student-designed mobile devices.

In the lab, he and his research assistants use wireless electromyography devices to track activity patterns in muscles. Infrared cameras and motion tracking equipment record and digitize the movements of a person wearing reflective markers. The lab’s instrumented force plates measure the gravitational forces an individual applies during different movements. Outside the lab, data is collected using an instrumented insole sensor in the form of a shoe insert, called Loadsol. “One of the great things about being at Fairfield is working with undergrads and inviting them to help me solve S problems we face in research,” he said. l Learn more about the Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering program at fairfield.edu/biomedical. LEFT: Laia Vancells-Lopez wears electromyography sen-

sors and performs exercises to measure muscle activation patterns in her lower legs. ABOVE: John Minogue, Laia Vancells-Lopez, and Dr. Drazan look at data collected from the sensors.

Photos by Owen Bonaventura

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UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAMS B.S. in Biomedical Engineering B.S. in Computer Science B.A. in Computer Science B.S. in Electrical Engineering B.S. in Mechanical Engineering

STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS AND SOCIETIES Innovator’s / 3D Printing Club American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Engineering Student Society (ESS) Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Tau Beta Phi (Engineering Honor Society) Upsilon Pi Epsilon Order of the Engineer

I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER

(ANSWER: TESTED RESEARCH HYPOTHESES) Now in its second year, the School of Engineering and Computing’s “Undergraduate Research Promise” initiative has provided opportunities for 33 students to participate in a Summer Research Residency program, applying theoretical knowledge to a breadth of hands-on research projects.

STUDENT ACHIEVEMENTS

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Biomedical Engineering

Cybersecurity Vincent Masi ’54 Fellows Maeve O’Connell ’25 Luis Mendizabal ’26 Emmett Tollis ’24 Ashley Milone ’26 Teawon Kim ’24

and built an isodamping dynamometer Biomedical engineering student Jacob (IDD) to measure plantar flexion, Bornstein ’25, under the mentorship the extension of the ankle where the of assistant professor of biomedical foot points downwards. Based upon engineering Isaac Macwan, PhD, previous device designs for lab use, the looked at combining 3D bio-printing students engineered an updated mobile and electrospinning for tissue IDD for use outside of a lab. engineering as a way to develop or “This IDD is designed to be a small, repair organs. The objective of this lightweight, compact mobile device project was to align nanofibers, which capable of measuring plantar flexion of serve as a guide for fibroblast muscle the ankle, said Pris. “The device itself cells to grow on. is made mainly of 80/20 aluminum. “I was interested in tissue engineering A modular T-Slot aluminum bar, the because it has the potential to save lives TAS502 load cell, is attached to the top for patients who rely on organ donors,” The summer research residency provides opportunities of the frame with a damper running said Bornstein. “This research gave me for students to apply knowledge to hands-on projects. down the middle and attached at the opportunity to explore biomedical the lower end to a shuttle. The shuttle allows for energy transfer engineering and use specialized equipment. It also developed my vertically from the patient’s lower leg into the load cell. There is skills in laboratory work, analyzing scientific journals, presenting, also a 3D printed footplate which positions the foot at 10 degrees of and networking.” dorsiflexion.” In a study focused on VPN login analysis and honeypots, Sean Pris said that he and Sylvester plan to complete the final design of O’Hara ’24, Joseph Coccomo ’25, and Ruhuan Liao ’24, alongside the IDD this year. “Currently, we need to work on the friction issues advisors Mirco Speretta, PhD, and Joseph Wilson, looked at patterns between the 80/20 rails and the shuttle, as well as further quantifying of malicious activities and vulnerabilities in the Cybersecurity Lab’s the dampers we have. The next step would be to submit an IRB, network. The students also designed a honeypot, which is a protected which would review our current research and then allow us to start web environment used to lure cybercriminals and monitor their activity. human subject testing to gather data.” Luring hackers to a honeypot “can reveal exploits found in Other research projects conducted on campus this summer ranged different systems and networks, without the cost of risking valuable from robotic arm programming to identifying the needs for virtual information and data,” noted the students in their final poster reality-based nursing training approaches. presentation. At the conclusion of the Summer Research Residency program, In another project, mechanical engineering student Thomas Pris ’26 S students presented their posters at a summer symposium. l and biomedical engineering student Michael Sylvester ’25 designed

GRADUATE PROGRAMS

Mohammed Feroz Shaik ’25 Noor Khattak ’25

Martha Rogers BEI Scholarship Michaela Nanna ’26 J. Gerald Phelan BEI Scholarship David Tello ’26 Breanna Lowe ’25

Alexis Zaveruha Scholarship Andrew Mejia Hernandez ’26 Society of American Military Engineers Scholarship Timothy M. Holewienko ’24 Bridgeport Engineering Institute Scholarship Luke Wagher ’26 Seamus Dwyer ’24 Margaret Millar ’25 Michael Queenan ’26 Fairfield County Instrument Society of America Scholarship James Nieto ’26

Bernadette and John Porter Scholarship Amir Alibali ’25 Luke Braun ’25 Luke Brown ’25 Faizah Chowdhury ’25 Raqibul Haque ’25 Stephany Herrera ’24 Habibul Huq ’24 Donna Ismail ’24 Vaibhav Khatri ’25 Ruhuan Liao ’24 Jonah Lydon ’24 Phuc Nguyen ’25 Juthika Rasul ’24 Jason Rosales ’24 Corey Ransom ’25 Alessandra Toscano ’26

Raymond Noren Engineering Alexander White ’25 Dominic Oliveri ’24 Dennis James Morrelli ’26 Quinn McGonigle ’26 Alessandra Toscano ’26

Data Science

Accurate Lock and Hardware Cohort Charlotte Savigny ’26 Sarah Dorgan ’26 James Bossone ’26

Software Engineering

Company Scholars Alicia Montes ’26 Ronny Cuji ’27 Rick Daytec ‘26 Andrew Mejia Hernandez ‘26 Kristopher Marte ‘27 Josangel Sosa ‘27

Electrical and Computer Engineering Management of Technology Mechanical Engineering

CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS Cybersecurity Data Science and Big Data Technology Network Technology Web and Mobile Application Development

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ACCURATE LOCK AND HARDWARE DESIGN CENTER UNVEILED New design studio space for engineering students working on design projects and creating prototypes.

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niversity President Mark R. Nemec, PhD was on hand last August at the unveiling of the School of Engineering and Computing’s newest student-centered space: the Accurate Lock and Hardware Design Center, named after the Stamford-based company founded by Fairfield alumnus Ronald Salvatore ’64. “One cannot be a modern, Jesuit university without the recognition that technology changes everything,” Dr. Nemec said, introducing the new facility and its generous benefactors, Ron and his wife Joanne. “And one cannot be a solid school without a robust School of Engineering and Computing.” Located in the Innovation Annex, the new design studio space was created with flexibility in mind and has already become popular with engineering students working on design projects and creating prototypes. Ron Salvatore, chairman of Accurate Lock and Hardware, spoke briefly at the unveiling. He noted that he is very proud to be a Fairfield alumnus and cited the “exceptional growth and recognition of the school.” The Salvatore family’s connections to Fairfield’s School of Engineering and Computing (SEC) run deep. Ron and Joanne have been strong supporters throughout the years, and Ron contributes his vision, knowledge, and experience as a member of the SEC Executive Advisory Board. Recently, one of the couple’s two sons, Reed, who serves as Accurate’s CEO, also joined the board.

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The Salvatores fund a four-year SEC scholarship, and have created internship opportunities for Fairfield mechanical engineering students at the family’s company. It’s a very hands-on, learn-by-doing internship, noted Charlotte Savigny ’26, one of several mechanical engineering students lucky enough to have landed a summer gig at Accurate Lock and Hardware. “Accurate makes sure students get involved in the entire engineering process. I learned how to make the interior of the lock itself and to think about how the parts interact with each other on the inside, in order to make an operation occur on the outside.” Savigny described how she spent the summer working with machine design to code and run a computer numerical control (CNC) machining center: “I worked with Autodesk, turning 2D drawings into 3D drawings with Fusion 360, and finally learned to finish pieces by polishing, coating, or sandblasting.” Working at Accurate Lock and Hardware, she said, “fueled S my passion for my major.” l LEFT: Dean Carrano spoke at the studio space unveiling which took place in August at the Innovation Annex. Members of the Salvatore family. RIGHT: (l-r) Dean Carrano, President Mark R. Nemec, PhD, and Ronald and Joanne Salvatore at the unveiling.

Photos by Owen Bonaventura

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2022-23 EXECUTIVE ADVISORY BOARD

A SAMPLING OF COMPANIES THAT HIRE FAIRFIELD SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND COMPUTING GRADUATES

CHAIRMAN OF THE EXECUTIVE BOARD

Robert Sobolewski ’70 President and CEO (retired) ebm-papst MEMBERS

Michael J. Buckenmeyer ’11 Fellow, National Cancer Institute (NIH) John E. Butala Vice President of Technology, O’Keefe Controls Co. Alicia J. Carroll ’10 Senior Principal IP Counsel, Medtronic Frank J. Fanzilli ’78 Senior Advisor, Credit Suisse Melissa Fensterstock Co-Founder & CEO, Landsdowne Labs John LaViola Chief Technology Officer, Tibidabo Nick Mercadante ’04 Founder and CEO, PursueCare Tim O’Neil BEI ’84 Senior Director for Advanced Technology Programs, ASML Reed Salvatore CEO, Accurate Lock & Hardware Ronald M. Salvatore ’64 Chairman, Accurate Lock & Hardware Deacon Patrick Toole Chancellor, Diocese of Bridgeport Mark Tuck, BEI ’85 Founder and Director, MnR Neviana Zhgaba ’11, MS’13 Co-Founder, Aquila’s Nest Vineyards

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1073 North Benson Road Fairfield, Connecticut 06824-5195

F O L LOW FA I R F I E L D U N I V E R S I T Y O N S O C I A L M E D I A

iv S PR IN G 2 024 | SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND COMPUTING UPDATE


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