Engineers celebrate curiosity and creativity at the Opus College of Engineering’s Undergraduate Research Day

On Friday, Oct. 27, students, faculty, staff, families and friends gathered in Engineering Hall for a showcase of undergraduate research projects led by students in Marquette’s Opus College of Engineering. Twenty students from across engineering disciplines shared outcomes and experiences from their research efforts alongside Marquette faculty. Among recent Marquette engineering graduates, at least 26% have reported they participated in some form of undergraduate research while on campus.

Many of the projects on display stemmed from participation in the Opus College’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURF) program or from a National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site in Marquette’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. Learn more about both of these research cohorts and their efforts to develop engineering leaders.

Each poster represented hundreds of hours spent learning new technology and skills, collaborating with research partners, analyzing real data and generating insights. Undergraduate Research Day served as an opportunity for the students to finally communicate these experiences and their findings to a wider audience.

“In the end, I was just so happy to be granted the opportunity to showcase all I had been doing over the summer and this semester,” said Maya Bates-Martinez, Eng ’24, an undergraduate researcher in Marquette’s Water Quality Center. “It was really nice to see results and receive praise for all the hard work I’d done, and I liked having conversations with engineers and non-engineers who were interested in my research.”

Research on display included investigations into increased disinfectant chemicals entering waste treatment, VR technology to improve balance among patients with MS, the use of adaptive toys in therapy for children, 3D printed materials for low-cost imaging devices, national data for vehicle crash injuries among women, new methodologies for brain imaging and more.

“It is inspiring to see the creative connections and big ideas that each of our undergraduate researchers are identifying on these important projects,” said Dr. Brian Schmit, associate dean of research in the Opus College of Engineering and Hammes Family Professor in the Marquette University and Medical College of Wisconsin Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering. “Regardless of if they plan to enter industry or launch a research career, undergraduate research offers a transformative experience for students to collaborate with faculty experts and tackle real-world challenges.”