OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

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A science fair on steroids

Published Date: 
Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Graduate student research often takes place in secluded and sometimes cramped campus laboratories. Master’s and doctoral candidates log long hours on important research, yet they rarely have the opportunity to share their work with the world in person.

The College of Engineering is changing this reality for Oregon State University graduate students by showcasing and celebrating research at its annual Graduate Engineering Research Expo. This year, about 200 master’s and doctoral students from all five engineering schools packed a large ballroom at the Portland Art Museum to display a dizzying array of colorful research posters and discuss their work with approximately 250 visitors.

In his opening remarks from a landing overlooking the displays, Dean Scott Ashford referred to the expo as a “science fair on steroids.” That’s partly because many of the visitors were industry representatives who were interested not only in seeing the research coming out of Oregon State but also looking for potential employees from among the researchers.

Tom Bergmann (’10, Construction Engineering Management), operations process manager for Portland-based On Electric Group, was at the expo to check out the latest research.

“A big thing for us is not getting too comfortable,” said Bergmann. “We have competitors, so we want to stay on top of what’s up-and-coming, and there is a lot of that here. We are also constantly looking for ways to cut waste.”

Mark Owen (’81, Mechanical Engineering) is founder and chief executive officer of Puralytics, an industry leading water purification company based in Beaverton. He came to the event to see new technologies, particularly in his interest areas of water, sensors, and robotics. “It’s an opportunity to meet interesting people and see new technologies,” Owen said.

Ashford expressed pride in the researchers and thanked them for the breadth and depth of their work.

“Your research will fuel the economy, drive change, and create a better a future for people all over the world,” he said.

The links below provide details about seven of these diverse research projects:

— Gregg Kleiner