Clarkson University Student Awarded NSF Research Fellowship

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POTSDAM, NY (04/23/2018) Clarkson University student Nicole Zaino '18 has been awarded the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship for 2018. In addition, Clarkson student Emily Browning '18 and alumnus Tyler Tuttle '16, now at Michigan State University, received honorable mentions. All three of these students majored in mechanical engineering while at Clarkson.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) received more than 12,000 applications for the 2018 competition and made only 2,000 awards. Awardees are evaluated on both their intellectual merit and potential to have a broader impact in both scientific research and society. NSF Fellows are expected to contribute significantly to research, teaching, and innovations in science and engineering fields.

Benefits of the award include a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 along with a $12,000 cost of education allowance to the recipient's choice of graduate institution. It provides opportunities for international research and professional development. The award also allows for freedom to conduct research of the recipient's choosing at any accredited U.S. graduate institution.

Nicole Zaino '18 of Brookfield, Conn., a graduate of Brookfield High School, is a senior majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in biomedical engineering. Zaino has conducted research at Clarkson under Associate Prof. of Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering Laurel Kuxhaus since the summer after her freshman year as well as with Assistant Prof. of Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering Arthur Michalek for two years. Her research includes establishing the white-tailed deer knee as an appropriate model for the human knee, both in terms of anatomy and its meniscus composition. This work, published in the Annals of Biomedical Engineering, will play an important role in future laboratory studies of knee injuries. Zaino presented her work and won second place in the 2016 B.S.-Level Student Paper Competition at the Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering, and Biotransport Conference, and presented additional results at the Orthopaedic Research Society's annual meeting. In 2016, she had a co-op at Simbex (Lebanon, N.H.) where she worked on the development of new football helmet technologies. In the summer of 2017, she conducted research at Worcester Polytechnic Institute on bone microarchitecture changes in distal radii due to mechanical loading and presented this work at the Biomedical Engineering Society's annual meeting. Zaino will be pursuing her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at the University of Washington focusing on rehabilitation biomechanics research.

Emily Browning '18 of Brookings, S.D. is a mechanical engineering major and physics minor. During her junior year, Browning began researching fluid-structure interactions between vorticial flows and flexible plates under the guidance of Associate Prof. of Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering Byron Erath. This research identified new mechanisms regarding the optimization of energy extraction from vortex-plate interactions, and was presented at the 2017 summer Symposium of Undergraduate Research at Clarkson, the Research Experience for Undergraduates in Washington D.C., and has been submitted for publication in the Journal of Sound and Vibration. This work inspired her NSF research proposal to study the durability of piezoelectric energy harvesting in vorticial flows with flexible plates. She hopes this research will optimize new renewable energy harvesting methods allowing them to be implemented into society. Browning will begin her master's in mechanical engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to pursue a research career in renewable energy harvesting.

Tyler Tuttle '16 of Argyle, N.Y., graduated from Clarkson with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering. He conducted research under Associate Prof. of Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering Byron Erath on the development of a mechanically powered artificial larynx. The device design was presented at the 2016 Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering, and Biotransport Conference, and published in the ASME Journal of Medical Devices. Tuttle is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Michigan State University under the mentorship of Assistant Prof. Sara Roccabianca. His current research focuses on viscoelastic characterization and modeling of the urinary bladder for improved diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the urinary bladder.