Polytechnic students recognized at spring 2021 undergrad research conference

Purdue Office of Undergraduate Research

Purdue Polytechnic students were recognized by Purdue’s Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) at its spring 2021 undergraduate research conference. OUR selects first, second and third place winners in each Purdue college; students enrolled in Purdue Polytechnic majors are shown here.

Research presentations

Jaeeun Kim won first place among Polytechnic students for her presentation at the conference. Kayla Cole, Lauren Krieger and Em Miller won second place, and Katelyn Graver won third place.

1st place: With the advancement of mass production and communication technology over the years, multi-robot systems have become popular for their abilities to break a cumbersome task into smaller, manageable tasks using a swarm of cooperating robots. Kim’s presentation, “Development of an Open-Source Mobile Robot Platform for Multi-Robot Systems,” noted that such systems might require high costs and skill levels to manage the environment. Kim (robotics engineering technology) proposed an open-source, low-cost mobile platform in which robots as a swarm can form different types of formations, change their light either individually or as a whole, and measure the distance of nearby obstacles. Future research, she said, could focus on the effects of multi-robot systems on human perception and cognition. She also hopes to enable K-12 teachers and students to access this robot platform to promote their education and interests in STEM.

Wonse Jo, a graduate research assistant in the Department of Computer and Information Technology, and Byung-Cheol “B.C.” Min, associate professor of computer and information technology, served as Kim’s mentors.

2nd Place: Research by Kayla Cole (animation) , Lauren Krieger (animation and art history), and Em Miller focused on making a children’s book about pattern recognition created by Purdue’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies easily accessible to young viewers as a 3D animated short video on YouTube. Their study documents the process they went through to create the animation, including modeling, rigging and texturing the characters and environment used in the book.

The students’ research also examines how childhood education television programs can be adapted to fit the rapidly changing media environment in which online viewing platforms are surpassing television as children’s primary choice for screen viewing. Using an illustrated voiceover reading of the book as a control video, the researchers also used YouTube viewer analytics to compare audience attention span and reach between the animated video and the control video.

3rd Place: The purpose of Katelyn Graver’s research was to understand what motivates and attracts women to become pilots and to outline the path to their involvement in the aviation industry, with a special focus on those who do not have a family legacy of pilots.

“Only six percent of pilots are women,” noted Graver. “As one of few female pilots in Purdue University’s flight program, I wanted to research how other women decided that aviation was the career for them.” She interviewed female pilots at different stages in their careers: college students who work as flight instructors, recently graduated alumni working as airline pilots, and women with decades of experience working at legacy airline companies. Graver found that most female pilots enter the aviation field because they know someone already in the industry or because they have had previous exposure to it.

Graver analyzed female pilots’ career paths to focus on ideas for attracting and increasing the future prevalence of women in the aviation industry. Alyssa Harvey, limited term lecturer in the Polytechnic’s School of Aviation and Transportation Technology, served as Graver’s mentor.

Research posters

Jacob Slater, Elliot Knapp and Nicole Dwenger won first, second and third place, respectively, among Polytechnic students for their posters at the conference.

1st Place: Jacob Slater’s poster, entitled “Abandoned Sentinels: An analysis of the past, present, and future of former armed forces installations,” called attention to a relatively unknown set of former military installations located around the San Francisco (California) Bay Area. Following their closure, the sites have seen little in the way of recognized re-use, falling into a state of decay. Amidst perceived disuse, the installations serve an entirely different mission outside the purview of national defense. Utilizing historical documents, current public records, oral histories, and present-day photographs, Slater (network engineering technologies and cybersecurity) presented the former armed forces sites in both historical and modern contexts. Building on the theoretical framework of “Ruinology,” he reconstructed the process by which the sites were abandoned and analyzed how their earlier missions will impact their eventual re-use.

Slater’s poster also won OUR’s first place archival presentation award.

2nd Place: Elliot Knapp’s research, entitled “Safety Culture in the Purdue Flight Program,” focused on the risk and safety implications of the School of Aviation and Transportation’s recent introduction of a fleet of Piper Archer aircraft, which replaced most of the previous fleet of Cirrus SR20 aircraft. Using operational manuals and interviews, Knapp (professional flight) examined the critical differences between the aircraft and how students and instructors have adapted to the change. Subjects were asked a series of questions involving personal incidents of risk with both aircraft, key differences noticed between the aircraft and the successfulness of the fleet transition. Knapp portrayed the effectiveness of safety protocols and requirements implemented and how subjects responded to an enhanced safety culture during the 2020-2021 school year. His presentation confirmed the increased risk associated with new aircraft and encouraged diligence and cooperation in following proper procedure and identifying potential safety threats.

Stephanie Brown, aviation safety program manager in the School of Aviation and Transportation Technology, served as Knapp’s mentor.

3rd Place: Nicole Dwenger presented a poster entitled “Digital Portal for the Data Visualization Process.” The data visualization community understands that it’s valuable to teach a process for gaining insight from data through multi-staged synthesis and analysis, but Dwenger said there is no consensus on how to do so.

Dwenger (web programming and design, public relations and strategic communication) designed and developed an interactive web-based platform that guides a user through the steps of data visualization using embedded Qualtrics surveys. Using Google Sites to determine the usability and impact of the platform, she conducted user testing on a prototype with undergraduate and graduate students familiar with data visualization. Dwenger’s digital portal was designed to simplify the process for beginners and serve as a teaching tool for teachers introducing the data visualization process. It also served as a prototype for desktop applications that can be modeled for multi-institutional use.

Vetria Byrd, assistant professor of computer graphics technology, was Dwenger’s mentor. Dwenger’s previous research project won first place during OUR’s 2020 conference.

Several other Polytechnic students presented posters or oral presentations at OUR’s Spring Undergraduate Research Conference. See the 2021 Purdue Undergraduate Research Conference abstract booklet for a complete listing of participants.

Additional information