STEM Capstone Projects
Posted 11/06/2017 05:37PM

Students crowdsourcing networks and guidance

by Faith Darling, Director of STEM

The 2017-18 STEM Capstone students are off and running on some exciting project this year! They are a curious, enthusiastic, and determined group and are eager to share their progress with the Bullis community. Their ideas are big and developing so they are hoping to crowdsource feedback and possible connections to others who might be knowledgeable in their area of interest.

Please take a moment to explore their project descriptions and if you have suggestions for a specific student/group to plus their project, know of some helpful resources, have a neighbor who might be able to help, or just want to provide some encouragement, please contact Faith Darling ().

Thank you so much for your support of these students.

Eunice Aissi - Farmers who cultivate non-GMO foods need a way to determine the risk of cross-pollination between GMO and non-GMO products because consumers want to know whether or not they are eating GMOs and farmers may accidentally contaminate their crops. This project will analyse the DNA of corn seeds on farms that produce both GMO and non-GMO corn using polymerase chain reactions to determine the presence of a genetic modification.

Alonso Flores-Noel and Ryan Schumacher - Approximately 1 in 45 children, ages 3 through 17, have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Children with ASD need a product that will reduce symptoms of anxiety associated with sensitivities to light, sound, and touch because all children are entitled to a classroom experience that facilitates best learning outcomes. The goal of this project is to develop a product to aid learning in the classroom for students with ASD that is directly influenced by research findings pointing to common preferences for color and shape, along with accounting for difficulties with hand-eye coordination.

Starr Howard - Aquatic life researchers, neuroscientists and marine biologists need to have a better understanding of the similarities between mammals and zebrafish because addressing the similarities in the reactions to certain prescription medications can improve or alter mammalian prescription experimentation. A T-maze, which is a device used to tests mammals behavior and cognitive capabilities, will be constructed to serve as the basis for experimentation. Experiments on adult zebrafish will be conducted to observe the effects of the prescription drug, Adderall, on behavior in the maze.

Joey Ji and David Kavteladze - Scholars interested in jet engines need a model that is open for experimentation, specifically with regards to fuel, because the opportunity to explore the factors involved in the optimization of jet engines encourages creativity and leads to potential innovations in aerospace engineering. The goal of the project is to create a replica of a jet engine, using a car turbocharger, that could be experimented upon by future researchers. The engine will allow for variation of several complex components, such as the combustion chamber, to allow investigation on the effects that these changes have on fuel efficiency and improved understanding of fuel efficiency in modern engines.

Skylar Jordan - The Bullis Aquatics Lab needs an accessible protocol for developing and maintaining a population of zebrafish because zebrafish are commonly used in research. The goal of this project is to establish a healthy culture of zebrafish through breeding and testing. Methods will be documented and a protocol will be published for keeping the freshwater tanks chemically balanced to sustain a population of zebrafish.

Brendan Kazanjian - Hospitals and medical facilities need a way to implement a new casting system because both the fiberglass and plaster casts used today have several negative side effects which can outweigh the overall benefit of the cast. Casts currently in use often hinder the user and may become uncomfortable, hot and smelly. The proposed solution involves creating a more comfortable type of cast while maintaining effectiveness in healing the injury.

Dalton Lewis - Bullis Seniors need a way to sign into study hall more efficiently because the current method is time-consuming, inconvenient and tedious therefore decreasing time for academics. The proposed solution is an application that will recognize the students' faces using Microsoft Cognitive Services to take attendance. C# and Microsoft Cognitive Services will be used to program this application.

Noelle Morgan - It is a common complaint by children and parents that children's school backpacks are too heavy; backpacks have been found to weigh up to 30 pounds for sixth graders even though the recommended weight for backpacks suggests they be only 10% of the child's body weight. Children with moderately heavy daily loads need a small, autonomous alternative to backpacks that will transport their supplies because use of heavy backpacks can cause long term harm to backs and posture.

Haley Porter, Tyson Wiseman, Christopher Yau - Construction workers need a way to reach objects that located in high and tight spaces because forklifts, construction stilts, and scissor lifts are often too bulky or difficult to adjust. The proposed solution is wearable construction stilts with an adjustable height system which can be manipulated with non-motorized hydraulic bottle jacks via a lever system.

Matthew Schwartz - Bullis students need a way to understand Blockchain because it is an emerging technology. Many people know what Bitcoin is, but they do not know what makes Bitcoin work, and they lack the understanding of the exponentially greater number of ways to apply the technology to other applications. The goal of this project is twofold: develop a workshop to educate the Bullis community about Blockchain and its applications as well as to found a network of young Blockchain enthusiasts interested in identifying applications of the technology.

John Sita - Future homeowners concerned about the environment need a way learn about the design and energy efficiency benefits of renewable energy sourced housing because it will be imperative for society to implement more environmentally friendly houses in the future. The proposed solution involves designing and constructing a scale model solar house based on form and energy efficiency. To date, research has been conducted on design and energy requirements of solar houses to prepare for interviews with architects and potential clients, blueprints development, scale model construction, and energy efficiency testing to result in a reference model for designing future solar houses.

Ian Tabor - Consumers of processed meat need to learn about the harmful health risks of both Natural and Artificial nitrates and nitrites because there is a lack of clarity available to the public regarding the health effects nitrates/nitrites. For this project, an Ames Test will be conducted to compare the mutagenicity (rate of mutations) between jerkies prepared with sodium nitrite and those prepared using celery powder. The goal is to provide research and analysis to be entered for consideration for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Ryan Teel- People in Third World Countries and amatuer blacksmiths need a way to learn how and get started blacksmithing because they need a way to easily and cheaply create metal items to make tools and parts. This approach would allow people in remote areas without access to technology to teach themselves how to make tools and parts, which can then be used to improve the community and further develop the production and spread of goods and technology. This limits reliance on resources or supplies from a charity organizations or distant locations. Knowledge is power, and with this knowledge they can empower themselves.

Joanna Wang - Astronomy as an academic field needs a way to enlarge its database of well-studied objects because the vast amount of astronomical objects are not well-observed and analyzed. The goal of this project is to conduct research on astronomical objects and provide their parameters through the use of the University of Maryland Observatory as a mean of effectively contributing to the field and building our understanding of the universe.

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