St. Olaf News
Students invited to present research at national science conference
February 28, 2013
St. Olaf College students Carlos Rivera ’15 and Mohamed Haji ’13 are in Washington, D.C., this week to present their research at the 2013 Emerging Researchers National Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
The conference, which runs from February 28 to March 2, aims to help students better understand how to prepare for science careers in a global workforce. It is centered around student poster and oral presentations, with workshops focused on strategies for success in graduate school, career preparation, and examining STEM careers in a global context.
The conference is geared toward college and university undergraduate and graduate students participating in programs funded by the National Science Foundation’s Human Resource Development Unit. Rivera and Haji are both involved in St. Olaf’s TriO McNair Scholars Program, TRiO Student Support Services, and the NorthStar STEM cohort. The NorthStar STEM Alliance funded their research.
Rivera spent last summer researching the decrease of the walleye population and the increase of the largemouth bass population on Fish Lake Reservoir in Duluth, Minnesota. Working with his advisor, a fisheries biologist, Rivera collected samples from the lake, examined data, and looked at the vegetation in the environment before concluding that the lake is not a hospitable place for walleye.
Haji, who is currently attending the University of Minnesota as part of a 3-2 program in physics and engineering that St. Olaf offers, will present his robotics research. For his project, titled “Robotic Tool Use with Force-Torque Sensor Feedback,” Haji worked with Associate Professor of Physics Jason Engbrecht and two other students to develop a robotic platform that is capable of using tools and assisting people in the kitchen.
In addition to encouraging scientific dialogue between undergraduate and graduate students, the conference is a place for participants to look to the future.
“I’ve received various emails about different graduate schools wanting me to check out their booths and talk to their representatives,” says Rivera. “I believe it will be a great place to network with people.”