Engineering research fair attracts hundreds of undergrads

On Monday night, undergraduate engineering students got an up-close look at many of the cutting-edge labs and research opportunities available on campus.

Some 400 students visited the Curry Student Center indoor quad for the Undergraduate Lab Fair, which featured about 30 College of Engineering research labs and programs that focus on topics including nanomedicine, health systems engineering, and intelligent human-machine systems. The event allowed students to learn more about this innovative research and to connect with faculty and their peers to find out how they can get involved.

First-year students David Siegel and Heather Strelevitz, both E’19, came to the fair with an open mind as they were still deciding on their specific majors within the college. “We just wanted to come and see what there is,” said Siegel, who expressed interest in joining the electrical engineering program.

Richard West, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering whose research involves computational modeling, said the fair was a great opportunity for students to explore a variety of research topics and identify those that piqued their interests.

“I think this event is fantastic,” West said, noting that attending the fair was an easy way for students to seek out faculty members in disciplines that align with their interests. “Events like these have been fruitful in the past. We have undergraduates helping quite a lot in our lab on a variety of levels.”

One of those students is Jason Cain, E’17. He discovered West’s lab at a previous research fair, and now he’s working there alongside a graduate student studying the highest point of energy in a reaction.

“I have learned a lot, and this opportunity has definitely given me the goal of pursing my doctorate after I graduate from Northeastern,” Cain said. He added that he utilized some of the programing skills he learned in West’s lab during a recent co-op at Morpho Detection, where he worked as a chemist intern.

For Emrecan Demirors, a new research assistant in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Monday night’s fair provided a venue to introduce his research in underwater acoustic networks to the Northeastern engineering community. Demirors previously worked at the University of Buffalo and started at Northeastern two weeks ago. He said he was excited about recruiting some undergraduate students to join his research team.

“Undergraduates are a great resource for us,” Demirors said. “You wouldn’t believe how many great ideas come from undergraduates, and opportunities like this give them a chance to start their careers early.”