Under the guidance of adjunct engineering faculty Dr. Amal Saeed Yagub, three Phoenix College (PC) engineering students–Lorynn Garcia, Marco Portillo, and Michael Bittner–presented their research project on superhydrophobic surfaces at the 2023 New College Undergraduate Inquiry and Research Experience (NCUIRE) Symposium held at Arizona State University (ASU) on April 20, 2023. They secured first place in the Non-NCUIRE student section and third place in the Community Favorite section.
The Opportunities of NCUIRE
Assistant Director of NCUIRE, Eric Swank, said, "NCUIRE loves having community college participants, and their success is a sign of the great teaching at your school." Dr. Yagub noted the importance of having students present their research at this event: "The NCUIRE symposium is a significant opportunity for our students, expanding their education beyond the classroom. It showcases their research achievements, fostering collaboration, interdisciplinary thinking, and critical research skills." Western Alliance to Expand Student Opportunities (WAESO) at ASU funded the students' research.
At the symposium, students presented their research projects in a conference poster format, which included an abstract, introduction, previous research, applications and examples found in nature, conclusion, references, and acknowledgments. "Through this event, students engage with a diverse academic community, gaining invaluable experiences that shape them into lifelong learners and innovative leaders," said Dr. Yagub, who has a bachelor's and master's degree in Aeronautical Engineering, a master's and doctorate in Mechanical Engineering, and a graduate certificate in Alternative Energy Technology from Wayne State University.
The students' project, "Introduction to Superhydrophobic Surfaces: Understanding Key Characteristics," noted that superhydrophobic surfaces are "typically made by creating micro- and nanostructures on the surface of a material that traps air pockets, which prevent water from making contact with the surface. The result is a surface that exhibits extremely high-water repellency, with water droplets bouncing off the surface and rolling away without leaving a trace." The potential applications of these surfaces include anti-fogging coatings and drag reduction in fluid dynamics, which can improve the performance of coatings, textiles, biomedical devices, and fuel cells.
Engineering student Michael Bittner noted he and Marco Portillo were creating a functional simulation model and credited Lorynn Garcia with leading the team into new and exciting opportunities with her hard work and dedication. He also acknowledged the amazing staff, judges, and fellow students at NCUIRE. About Dr. Yagub, Michael said, "She gave us the opportunity in this new field of research, and with her mentoring, we can change our world for the better."
PC's Program Director of Engineering, Benjamin Schwartz, praised Dr. Amal Yagub as one of the finest educators he's known, who can teach any engineering course in the catalog: mechanical, electrical, chemical, etc. "She has helped develop new advanced engineering laboratory exercises where students apply abstract theory to solve the frontier problems of the day," he said. "We're lucky to have her at PC." A professor at PC since 2019, Dr. Yagub teaches Engineering Analysis Tools and Techniques (ECE102), Engineering Mechanics-Statics (ECE211), and Engineering Mechanics - Dynamics (ECE212).
Phoenix College's Engineering program offers courses that range from problem-solving and design to mechanics, dynamics, and plane surveying. Explore an Associate in Science, Emphasis in Engineering.