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Future Innovators of America

The Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering emphasizes hands-on learning for undergraduate students. As part of this learning strategy, the Future Innovators of America (FIA) Fellowship is instituted to provide unique research opportunities for full-time undergraduate students enrolled in the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering. The fellowship program provides financial support to complete a short-term scholarly research project under the guidance of a faculty member or a research staff member in the College. The fellowship will support projects that exemplify the "Learning by Doing" principle, leading to peer reviewed publications while providing more experiential research opportunities for students. Successful implementation of this program is also expected to strengthen the overall research portfolio of the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering.

Mathematics and Statistics

Dakotawinter Barnes

Advisor: Xijin Ge

Project: Development team for ShinyGO gene set enriching analysis (GSEA) app.


  • Significant educational and professional development value, but no papers/awards/etc.
  • Dakotawinter graduated in May 2023 and is considering graduate school at some future date.

Matthew Halberg

Advisor: Hossein Moradi

Project: Neural Networks for Analyzing Precision Agriculture Data


  • Significant educational and professional development value, but no papers/awards/etc.
  • Matthew plans to continue for a graduate degree as a result of this work.

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Magdalene Hoff

Advisor: Muthu Muthukumarappan

Project: Effectiveness of Magnetic Activated Carbon from Crop Residue for Absorbing Pollutants in Wastewater for Meat Processing Facilities


  • One refereed paper published.
  • Two posters and one oral presentation in regional and international conferences.
  • Received USDA-REEU Fellowship from University of Tennessee for Summer 2023.
  • Maggie continues to work and expand her research project in 2023-2024.

Myranda Hentges

Advisor: John McMaine

Project: Effectiveness of Tile Drain Outflow on Soil Type, Precipitation, Crop Growth, Crop Type, Cropping History and Nutrient Management


  • Received internship from NRCS for Summer 2023.
  • Five posters in regional and international conferences.
  • Myranda continues to work and expand her research project in 2023-2024.

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Tyler Wood

Advisor: Mostafa Tazarv

Project: Structural Analysis of Trees Using Light Detection and Ranging


  • Research in progress
    • We laser scanned multiple trees, established the best practice for data collection, and analyzed trees using in-house programs.
    • Tyler will continue to research in his MS funded by the NSF STORM project.

Mechanical Engineering

Carter Waggoner

Advisor: Todd Letcher

Project: Excavation Strategies for Continuous Mining of a Permanently Shadowed Lunar Crater for Water Ice Production


  • Participated in the NASA Break the Ice Lunar Challenge.
    • Developed rovers to experientially test lunar excavation techniques.
  • Final Test Report and Video submitted to the NASA Challenge Administrators (to be submitted Oct. 27, 2023).
  • Paper to be submitted to Journal of Aerospace Engineering, after competition aspect of Break the Ice Lunar Challenge is complete (summer 2024) to maintain any competitive advantage we might have.
  • Would like to attend either the AIAA Science and technology Forum and Exposition or The International Conference on Engineering, Science, Construction and Operations in Challenging Environment (also known as Earth and Space 2024) Conference in 2025.

Dominic Winstead

Advisor: Saikat Basu

Program: Scaling Analysis of Particle Transport in Complex Bio-inspired Channels and Extension of the Modeling Approach Toward Targeted Drug Delivery in Respiratory Pathways


  • One regional conference presentation, Scaling arguments for particle transport in anatomic channels.
  • One journal manuscript in preparation,Parametric numeric analysis of targeted drug delivery for intranasal sprays inside the upper respiratory airspace.

Electrical Engineering

Rick Kittelson

Advisor: Xiaojun Xian

Project: Colorimetric Tuning Fork Array


  • Highly Sensitive and Reversible MXene-Based Micro Quartz Tuning Fork Gas Sensors with Tunable Selectivity, Wei Ding, Rick Kittelson, Xiaojun Xian, et. al., nip 2d Materials and Applications, 2023 (under review).
  • Rick graduated and is pursuing a graduate degree starting in the Fall of 2024.
  • A new test device was developed, capable of driving three tuning forks simultaneously, which is an improvement from the previous test device (capable of only driving one tuning fork). This device and its features are the foundation for a new six channel tuning fork array, useful for gathering more chemical data in future research.