Engineering students earn awards at prestigious statewide science conference

May 02, 2022
Charisma Clarke, Kyle Steel, and Colton Frear at Florida Polytechnic University.

Florida Polytechnic University engineering graduate students Charisma Clarke (left), Kyle Steel, and Colton Frear each received awards after presenting their individual research at the Florida Academy of Sciences 85th Annual Meeting.

Three Florida Polytechnic University graduate students pursing master’s degrees in engineering recently took home top honors for their research at the Florida Academy of Sciences 85th Annual Meeting. All three students are on the mechanical engineering degree track.

Charisma Clarke received first place for graduate engineering poster presentation, Kyle Steel received first place for graduate engineering oral presentation, and Colton Frear received second place for graduate engineering poster presentation. Florida Poly undergraduate student Daniil Ivannikov, a junior majoring in engineering physics, received first place for both undergraduate engineering oral presentation and undergraduate engineering poster presentation. 

Other disciplines competing at the virtual event included atmospheric and oceanographic sciences, biological sciences, and medical sciences.

“There were renowned universities competing, and we’re over here doing just as good if not better work. I feel that puts us on the map even more,” said Steel, who will receive his master’s degree on Sunday, May 8. 

The research Steel presented focused on nonlinear harmonic systems. He completed this under the guidance of Dr. Edwar Romero-Ramirez.

“Prior research has shown you can make kinetic energy harvesters have three-to-four times performance if you add a nonlinear component, but no one knows how these things interact,” he said. “I came up with a system for predicting them and showed we can make some developments in this area.”

Clarke, who will graduate in 2023, submitted a poster for his research on the thermal conductivity data of thermoplastic polyurethane infused with carbon black.

“It’s important because if you’re designing any sort of product or engineering solution – anything that heats up – you want to know the thermal conductivity of those materials,” Clarke said. 

Frear’s poster featured his research on an extended analysis of microchannels for heat transfer enhancement. He worked under the guidance of Dr. Gerardo Carbajal.

“Microchannels are basically heatsinks, but they’re a lot smaller,” he said. “If you look at a normal heatsink, you’ll see these big copper fins, but the idea here is you don’t have to have a few tall fins, you can have a lot more of them really close together.” 

Frear plans to continue the work and submit a paper about it to the International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition in Columbus, Ohio, as well as the Summer Heat Transfer Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Clarke, who also worked under Romero’s guidance, said presenting research at conferences such as these is helpful to the process of exploration and understanding.

“It helps you understand it even better because you have to explain it to people,” Clarke said. “When you prep for a poster presentation, you must have general responses ready and it helps all of us understand better what the work is and why it’s important.”

Steel, Frear, and Clarke all received their bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Florida Poly.

“We are proud to have contributed to the research of Dr. Carbajal and Dr. Romero,” Steel said. “I wouldn’t be doing any of the things I’m doing now without people like Dr. Romero.”


Lydia Guzmán
Director of Communications