PUC Partnership Gives HAST Students a Chance to Shine

Article written by Sue Ellen Ross, Post-Tribune Correspondent, published on their website, posttrib.suntimes.com

Marc Suarez and Neftali Arteaga discussing 3-D printing techniques

Marc Suarez and Neftali Arteaga discuss 3-D printing techniques. | Sue Ellen Ross~For Sun-Times Media

HAMMOND | Partnerships are beneficial in many ways, and a unique affiliation between Purdue University Calumet and the Hammond Academy of Science and Technology (HAST) was the basis for a recent showcase of STEM-related student projects.

Working with PUC engineering graduate students in their Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation (CIVS) lab during the past academic year, eight HAST pupils worked on four separate projects.

The mission of CIVS is to foster innovation through advanced visualization and simulation using multidisciplinary approaches; to conduct cutting-edge applied research using state-of-the-art computer simulation, visualization technologies, and high-performance computing to solve challenging problems and promote economic development; and to educate individuals and organizations in the use of modeling, simulation and visualization.

The center has a variety of resources available and is able to collaborate on projects in many ways.

Once the HAST students completed their hands-on projects, their findings were highlighted recently for an audience of 75 in the CIVS theater after a reception and poster showcase.

“The students basically took everything they have learned in the last four years to develop their projects,” HAST Principal Sean Egan said as he welcomed the visitors. “They have worked very hard.”

The hands-on projects were part of the students’ participation in the National Science Foundation-supported Project Lead the Way initiative. Project Lead the Way facilitates rigorous and innovative activity, and project- and problem-based learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics for middle and high school students.

The projects were developed utilizing CIVS advanced-simulation and 3D visualization and virtual reality technologies.

The four projects highlighted during the presentations were:

Virtual Downtown Hammond, designed by students Ivy Westerhoff and David Costello. The 3D virtual representation of a sector of downtown Hammond was shown, as the students thought this type of marketing tool would help bring businesses and visitors to the area.

Simulation, Modeling and Visualization of an Industrial Boiler, presented by Jeremy Amft. It used computational fluid dynamics, simulation of fluid flow and combustion with an industrial boiler.

Educational Wind Energy Game App, designed by Matthew Brown, Brandon Swart and Jose Rodriguez, allowed interaction with turbine components and provided information about operation and control of wind turbines.

3D Printing Techniques was shown by Marc Suarez and Neftali Arteaga. This is the development of a manual for the efficient use of the MakerBot 3D printer. Various printing techniques and models were tested to determine optimal conditions for completing prints of varying complexity.

“Our students love this program, the independence and content of the projects,” HAST Principal Sean Egan said of the experience with the PUC graduate students. “Because of this collaboration, HAST has experienced an increase in students applying at Purdue Calumet and other universities.”

The project goal — to increase student passion for science and technology — was achieved, Purdue Calumet professor and CIVS director Chenn Zhou believes.

“We are pleased with the outcomes and look forward to future collaboration with HAST,” she said.