MACON – Mercer University is represented for the second consecutive year in the highly selective Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) Posters on the Hill. This year’s event will take place online with poster sessions being presented virtually on Twitter beginning April 21 at noon using hashtags #POH2020 and #POHGoesVirtual.
Jordan Teng, junior biomechanical engineering major, and Michelle Kim, sophomore mechanical engineering major, will present one of only around 60 undergraduate projects selected nationwide to be showcased for Members of Congress.
Teng and Kim – mentored by Dr. Sinjae Hyun, professor of biomedical engineering, and Dr. Scott Schultz, professor of industrial engineering – will present “Touch3D Yearbooks,” a multiyear project to produce yearbooks for seniors at Macon’s Georgia Academy for the Blind (GAB).
“Accessibility is perhaps the most pivotal word in the world of students with disabilities,” said Dr. Cindy Gibson, superintendent of GAB. “The innovative work of the Mercer University School of Engineering to even the accessibility playing field for students with visual impairment is commendable, and we appreciate collaboration to further the mission to provide quality services for these students to achieve their highest potential.”
In 2018, Dr. Hyun, Dr. Schultz and several students created custom yearbooks using 3D-printed face models of the graduating seniors at GAB. Since then, the project has been recreated each year for the new graduating class and also expanded to become a part of the Mercer On Mission South Korea experience.
“The creation, production and presentation of the Touch3D (or Touched) Yearbook, as the pronunciation might imply, was a touching and moving experience, both for the students, families and staff at the Academy for the Blind and for all of us who were involved in the ideation and execution of the project. The name was imagined as a way to express a bit of its emotional impact – not simply referring to the fact that it can be touched or felt,” said Dr. Hyun.
Teng and Kim, who were both involved in creating the original Touch3D Yearbooks, are leading a team of about 20 students working on the Class of 2020 yearbooks.
“This project has served in two great capacities. First, our students have been able to witness how their work has impacted the graduating high school seniors from the Georgia Academy for the Blind. Second, our students have been involved in all aspects of bringing a product to market, including product design, process design, logistics, production and quality,” said Dr. Schultz. “In the academic setting, it is not often that our students can obtain experience on all aspects of a product’s life cycle.”
CUR holds the annual Posters on the Hill event to demonstrate the value of federal investment in undergraduate research. Institutions’ most talented researchers are judged by a national panel of experts in their fields, and only the best are chosen for the poster session on Capitol Hill. Past participants have gone on to contribute significantly to the research enterprise, such as scientist Sarah Caudill, who was part of the “discovery of the century” team that discovered gravitational waves.
“CUR’s first virtual Posters on the Hill presents many exciting opportunities,” said CUR Executive Officer Lindsay Currie. “Not only will congressional representatives and their staff members be able to learn about innovative research, scholarship and creative inquiry by exceptional undergraduate researchers, but national and international scholars, journalists and members of the public will be able to interact with these students and their work. Posters on the Hill powerfully demonstrates the benefits of investment in undergraduate research for students, faculty, institutions and communities around the world.”
About the School of Engineering
Mercer University’s School of Engineering, founded in 1985, offers innovative and academically challenging programs that provide students with a comprehensive education, featuring a solid foundation in mathematics and sciences, a core engineering curriculum, a range of courses in engineering specialties and a strong emphasis on communication technologies. The School is consistently ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top three master’s-degree-level engineering schools in the Southeast. Known for its breadth of instruction in its undergraduate program and its five-year joint bachelor’s and master’s degree program, the School combines technical education with hands-on laboratory experience. Mercer engineers can look forward to joining fellow alumni in companies such as Robins Air Force Base, Mercer Engineering Research Center, Northrop Grumman, Georgia Power, Manhattan Associates and Gulfstream Aerospace.