ESM students display outstanding work at 14th annual research symposium


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — ESM Today 2017, the 14th annual Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM) Research Symposium, was held Saturday, February 11, 2017, in the lobby of the EES Building on University Park campus. The event, organized by the ESM Graduate Student Council, gives undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to present their work through oral and poster presentations to peers, colleagues, and faculty; exchange ideas across the various research disciplines; and hone their presentation skills.

Approximately 75 people attended this year’s event, and 21 students gave a total of 14 oral presentations and 10 poster presentations. Presenters are required to explain their work in a way that is easily understandable to both engineers and scientists who are not specialists in a presenter’s discipline.

ESM Today 2017 also featured an exciting new category—Art in Science—where seven students displayed their research using a single slide showing one impactful image of their research along with a short caption. ESM faculty and students served as judges, and $3,600 in cash prizes were awarded.

Oral presentations were split into two groups, with first prize in group 1 going to Fatemeh Bahari for her paper titled “Estimation of Hidden Dynamics in Non-Linear Systems for Predicting Sleep-Wake States.” First prize in group 2 went to Michael Trowbridge for his paper titled “Implementation of Preston-Tonks-Wallace Plasticity Model for the Cold Spray Process.”

Amir Aref Laleh took home first prize in the poster competition with “Porous Carbon Materials for Electrochemical Capacitors.” Sema Erten captured top honors in the Art in Science exhibition with “The Butterfly Effect.”

The full list of 2017 winners includes the following:

Oral/Paper Presentations (Group 1):

  • 1st place: Fatemeh Bahari
  • 2nd place: Jeffrey Kim
  • 3rd place: Abdon Pena-Francesch

Oral/Paper Presentations (Group 2):

  • 1st place: Michael Trowbridge
  • 2nd place: Davis Evans
  • 3rd place: Zhifeng Zhang

Poster Competition:

  • 1st place: Amir Aref Laleh
  • 2nd place: Sam Lapp
  • 3rd place: Chandraprakash Chindam

Art in Science Exhibition:

  • 1st place: Sema Erten
  • 2nd place: Christine Truong
  • 3rd place: Kerim Moncal

The day’s events also included an opening keynote speech from Vijay Varadan, ESM alumnus and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Engineering Science and Mechanics. His presentation was titled “Nanosensor systems. Nanomedicine and wireless platform for monitoring and control of cardiovascular diseases and neurological disorders – Role of ESM education and research for successful career pathways.”

View all presenters’ abstracts.

View Art in Science images.

View the event photos.


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Chris Spallino



The Penn State Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM) is an internationally distinguished department that is recognized for its globally competitive excellence in engineering and scientific accomplishments, research, and educational leadership.

Our Engineering Science program is the official undergraduate honors program of the College of Engineering, attracting the University’s brightest engineering students. We also offer graduate degrees in ESM, engineering mechanics, engineering at the nano-scale, and an integrated undergraduate/graduate program.

Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics

212 Earth and Engineering Sciences Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-4523