This year started off for 25 students in the Winter Research Scholars Internship program. Held from Monday, January 3, 2022 – Friday, January 14, 2022 in the Fab Lab at Skyline College, the two-week program provides an introduction to scientific research along with topics and skills to help students gain further research and industry internships in STEM. These amazing students of aspiring computer science, biology, engineering, and chemistry majors met to learn about research in STEM and participated in multiple workshops. Prof. Walawalkar introduced them to information literacy and the Skyline library tools that support on-campus research. Brittney Sneed and the team of the career readiness and job placement program provided valuable feedback to the resumes and cover letters the students developed for upcoming internship applications. Counselor Joyce Lee held an information session about the Honors Transfer Program and the UC transfer process.
The students worked the first week in the Fab Lab in BLDG 7, under the guidance of Professors Marco Wehrfritz and Susanne Schubert, where they were introduced among other things to rapid prototyping using 3-D modeling and printing techniques, soldering, working with sensors, and metrology, and programming with Arduino. In week two, the group split into six working groups in which they pursued an engineering project. Projects ranged from motion sensor clocks, remote-controlled exploring vehicles, smart planters for indoor plants and mushrooms, a shower timer, a solar-powered battery charger, and a quadcopter. Even though circumstances dictated that the group work could not be continued in-person on campus during the second week of the internship, the students persevered and finished their projects remotely. On the final program day, students attended a virtual lab tour of the School of Engineering at San Francisco State University (SFSU) in the morning, where they learned about faculty research areas and the S-SMART summer internship program with projects in computational fluid dynamics, intelligent systems in structural engineering, neural machine interfaces, and assistive rehabilitative robotics. Later that afternoon the students presented their own projects via zoom. They were able to apply skills gained and honed during the presentation skills workshop and reflected on their personal and academic growth during this internship.
The Winter Research Scholars program is supported through the STEM Pathways project, a collaborative grant project funded by the U.S. Department of Education Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions (DHSI) program (award No. P031S180169). The coordinators, Nicholas Langhoff, Marco Wehrfritz, and Dr. Susanne Schubert, would like to thank the following persons for their enormous support: Bryan Swartout, Nadia Tariq, Tammy Wong, Rita Gulli, Gabriela Nocito, Sharri Wyatt, and Dr. Carla Grandy. The team would also like to thank our colleagues at SFSU for sharing their research with us and for the school’s long-lasting collaboration with Skyline College: Dr. Wenshen Pong, Dr. Jenna Wong, Dr. Fatemeh Khalkhal, Dr. Zhaoshuo Jiang, Dr. Xiaorong Zhang, and Dr. David Quintero.
Article by Nick Langhoff, Marco Wehrfritz, and Susanne Schubert
Photo by Susanne Schubert