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UTSI Researchers Mentor 3 Students as Part of ‘Engineer for Day’ Emphasis

Three students from area high schools recently spent an afternoon visiting various laboratories at The University of Tennessee Space Institute.

Martin (Bubba) Jones, a junior at Huntland High, Adam Pylant, a senior at Unionville Community High, and Kirk Davenport, a senior at Tullahoma High had spent the morning at Arnold Engineering Development Center’s “Engineer for a Day” activities.

After lunch at UTSI, the students visited the Institute’s Center for Laser Applications (CLA) where three post-doctoral research associates shared information on their various research projects. Later, Kirk’s father, Joel Davenport, and Peter Sherrouse, research associates, led the visitors on a tour of other research facilities, including the Spin Lab where carbon fiber research is under way. Davenport also showed the trio how the Institute’s water tunnel and wind tunnel are used for various research involving airplanes.

At CLA, Shaun Li, Lino Costa, and Yelena White explained some of their research projects. Costa showed video of his research involving the laser processing of nanodiamond-coated low carbon steel – one of his key interests. He discussed other aspects of his work involving Laser Induced Surface Improvement (LISI) methods of modifying surfaces of metals.

Li discussed research on the fabrication of nano-channels to be integrated into a Single Molecule detection device as well as Electron Beam lithography.

White explained various behaviors and applications of lasers and showed the visitors various mirrors used to steer the laser beams to specific areas and other lab equipment.

Carole Thomas, CLA business manager, coordinated the students’ visit and accompanied them on the tours.

“I was so impressed with these bright young people,” she said. “They were so interested in what’s going on in our labs and asked intelligent questions and offered interesting observations.”