Carnegie Mellon University
May 16, 2017

CEE at the Meeting of the Minds

CEE at the Meeting of the Minds

Daniel Ha (center) with CEE Professor and Head Dave Dzombak (left) and Dean of the College of Engineering Jim Garrett (right) Daniel Ha (center) with CEE Professor and Head Dave Dzombak (left) and Dean of the College of Engineering Jim Garrett (right)

As the semester came to an end, students shared their research at the annual Meeting of the Minds, a university-wide research symposium sponsored by the Undergraduate Research Office.

CEE students Rebecca Tien, Daniel Ha, and Roseanne Usnay presented a diverse array of projects last week alongside other undergraduate students at the Meeting of the Minds, CMU’s undergraduate research symposium.

Durable Biodegradable Construction Materials

CEE Senior Rebecca Tien (pictured above), advised by CEE Professor Sarah Christian, presented her research on a biodegradable biocomposite, which is an alternative to traditional construction materials. This alternative would combat the issues behind traditional construction materials that are nonrenewable (or slowly renewable) and generate millions of tons of construction waste that fill US landfills.

"The durability research of the biocomposite is essential to understanding its feasibility in structural applications,” explains Tien. “My research into the pilot study provided an amazing experience in learning fabrication and creative problem solving. I loved every moment of it!"
Tien, who is graduating this month, will be continuing her education as a masters student at Georgia Tech in the fall.

Connecting Cultural Experiences on Campus

CEE junior Roseanne UsnayCEE junior Roseanne Usnay explored ways to strengthen cultural visibility of minority groups among campuses. Her project, advised by Modern Languages Professor Mariana Achugar, aimed to explore the experiences of Latinax students, who make up 7.1% of the undergraduate population.

Her project included execution of surveys to explore the academic, emotional, and social experiences of the CMU undergraduate Latinax community. Based on what Usnay and her research partner found, they will look for opportunities to raise the visibility and engagement of the Latinx community at CMU.

Designing a Consumer-Grade Acoustic Dampening System

Senior Daniel Ha worked with Professor Petrus Pistorius (Materials Science and Engineering) to design and develop a portable and affordable acoustic dampening system.  By using data collected from testing various sound-dampening materials using sensors, Ha used MATLAB to create a soundproofing system that would appeal to consumer-level customers for in-home use.