AggiE_Challenge teams win awards at 2017 Global Grand Challenges Summit

Sixteen students from the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University participated in the 2017 Global Grand Challenges Summit held July 18-20 at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

GC Summit 1There were 150 abstracts submitted to the event and 86 teams from around the world were invited to present a poster on their Grand Challenge project. Four awards were presented to teams from the United States, one to a team from the United Kingdom and one to a team from China. Two of the four awards in the U.S. were given to teams of the AggiE_Challenge program at Texas A&M.

AggiE_Challenge promotes undergraduate student engagement in research for grand engineering challenges. In doing so, students collaborate in multidisciplinary teams and work closely with faculty and graduate student mentors.Electrical engineering senior Stefan Manoharan won the best undergraduate poster, design category, for his project “Point of Care (POC) Health Informatics for Proactive Epilepsy Seizure Alert.”

Manoharan’s poster presented the work of the AggiE_Challenge team comprised of Brian Taylor Arnold and Kyle Reagan (mechanical engineering); Srujan Kancharla  and Sandesh Reddy (biomedical engineering); Alan Dang Ngo (electrical engineering); Ishan Vasandani (industrial engineering); and Sagar Patel (chemical engineering). The team was mentored by Dr. Satish Bukkapatnam, industrial engineering Rockwell International Professor, and his graduate student Afrin Kahkashan, who also participated in the event.

GC Summit 2017

Mechanical engineering graduate students, Rana Soltani-Zarrin and Amin Zeiaee won the Societal and Technical Impact graduate category for their project “Virtual-Reality Enhanced Exoskeleton for Rehabilitation Controlled Via Reverse Engineering the Central Nervous System.”

The AggiE_Challenge team who worked with Soltani-Zarrin and Zeiaee team included Bharat Agarwal and Darby Ballard (general engineering); Maura Cadigan (aerospace engineering); Linda Bustaman (biomedical engineering); Haaris Padela, David Ratliff and Mark Wagner (computer engineering); Ryan Garmeson (computer science); Malik Aldabbagh, Mario De La Cabada, Brad King and Hannah Kowpak (electrical engineering); Joshua Willard (industrial distribution); Phuong Pham (industrial engineering); and Nathan Dunkleberger, Michael McClure and Xin Shen (mechanical engineering). The faculty mentor of the team was Dr. Reza Langari, engineering technology and industrial distribution professor and J.R. Thompson Department Head Chair.

In addition, two other AggiE_Challenge teams were invited and presented posters at the competition. Momore Adesanmi, Alon Farkas, Caleb Neufeld and Yndalecia Ojeda presented a poster “Advanced Vapor Compression Desalination – Creating a Scalable Water Resource,” mentored by Dr. Mark Holtzapple. Ehab Abo Deeb, Minxiang "Glenn" Zheng and Ian Echols presented a poster “High-Flux Hybrid membranes for Effective Oil-Water Separation,” mentored by Dr. Zhengdong Cheng.

Furthermore, six students pursuing the Grand Challenge Scholars program (GCSP) at Texas A&M were also invited to attend the event. The Grand Challenge Scholars program provides students with curricular and extra-curricular activities designed to provide skills and experiences in a research project that focuses on the five required areas of multidisciplinary experience; global dimension, entrepreneurship, service, learning and research.

The six GCSP scholars were Kanika Gakhar (aerospace engineering); Agnes Aina and Ricci Kirsten Seguban (chemical engineering); Samantha Wilson and Alyssa Ornelas (civil engineering); and Jusung Lee (computer science).

The 2017 Global Grand Challenges Summit was the third in a collaborative series sponsored by the National Academy of Engineering, the United Kingdom Royal Academy of Engineering and the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

The event focused on the four themes of the NAE Grand Challenges for Engineering; sustainability, health, security and joy of living, as well as education and public engagement related to the Grand Challenges.

General Motors generously provided support for travel expenses of AggiE_Challenge teams who participated in the summit.