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Krannert undergrad reflects on benefits of research and poster symposium

The 2017 Undergraduate Research and Poster Symposium held on April 11 in the Purdue Memorial Union may technically have been only a one-day event, but for the students who participated, it represented countless hours of learning first-hand how research contributes to the advancement of human knowledge.

The symposium served as a showcase the work of nearly 300 undergrads students from eight academic units: the College of Agriculture, the College of Engineering, the College of Health and Human Sciences, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Science, the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, Krannert School of Management, and the Honors College. Purdue Libraries and the Office of the Provost also served as sponsors for the event.

Judges reviewed the posters, interacted with the student researchers, and awarded prizes to the top posters from each sponsoring college and school. Taking home top honors for the Krannert School were seniors Leeane Chen (1st), Brianna Gieseler (2nd), and Oswin Chackochan (3rd).

The symposium and poster competition allowed the students to experience a change of pace from formal classroom activities and gain skills applicable to both research and non-research careers. Studies show that students who engage in research are twice as likely to graduate, five-times more likely to go on to graduate school, and have more successful careers after graduation. An analysis by Purdue’s Office of the Provost concluded that about 30 percent of Purdue undergraduates have at least one research experience during their time at Purdue.

Krannert’s 1st place winner Leeane Chen echoes those benefits.

“The Undergraduate Research and Poster Symposium was a meaningful way for me to share my research and project findings with others while learning more about the projects that my peers had completed in various areas of study,” Chen says. “For my involvement with the symposium this year, I was fortunate enough to present my involvement with Purdue Orbital as the marketing and business development manager.

“As a new member of this aerospace organization, I learned about its mission and recent project of developing an alternative way to launch satellites. Currently, satellites are tacked on to large rockets and then launched into orbit. However, this method is extremely time-consuming and costly in terms of energy, money, and efficiency. We are working to develop a ‘rockoon’ platform structure at an altitude of 15 kilometers that can launch satellites quickly and more effectively, further enabling us to benefit from the improved communication, connectivity and technology.

“We applied for various grants and merit funds to raise $6,500 as well as competed in the Schurz Communication Challenge. Additionally, we compiled a report outlining the feasibility of various future options, where we compared the relative advantages and disadvantages for growth including a limited liability company (LLC), incubator, and accelerator. Overall, we were able to increase awareness of Purdue Orbital and our current project by working with various campus resources including the Purdue Foundry, as well as networking with other start-up companies, mentors and affiliates with aerospace engineering, and prospective investors.

“My involvement with Purdue Orbital has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my college career. The opportunity to work within a completely new field of study has helped me understand and appreciate aerospace engineering, as well as apply my business knowledge in a meaningful way. I have had the pleasure of working on interdisciplinary teams, which has challenged and strengthened my skills in communication, teamwork, and collaboration with others from various majors and backgrounds. Overall, I feel very fortunate to be a part of this organization and have a meaningful impact on their growth and future endeavors.”

To watch a video that presents one of Purdue Orbital’s recent launches to test the Location and Orientation Control Systems (LOCS) for the overall “rockoon” design, visit https://youtu.be/qXyYTtgj9lU