Category Archives: Students

Tufts in Talloires: First week outside of “home”

This summer, two students from the Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts (BEST) program will blog their experiences from Tufts in Talloires, a six-week summer program that offers students a dynamic group of courses taught by Tufts faculty. Students enrolled in this program choose two courses from a selection of undergraduate offerings. In addition to coursework, a wide variety of optional outdoor activities, weekly hikes into the Alps, field trips, and organized events offer each student the opportunity to explore the unique Haute-Savoie region of France. 

The view from Hernan's host's flat, alongside Lake Annecy in Talloires, France.

The view from Hernan’s host’s flat, alongside Lake Annecy in Talloires, France.

By Hernan Gallegos

I had various amounts of emotions, both good and bad, rushing through my mind. I am not surprised since this was my first time traveling outside the country – overseas, to be exact. As an aspiring engineer, first-generation college student, and, most importantly, a young person of color, I was not aware of how I should have felt. Honestly, I was not expecting to be able to travel as far from my home city of Atlanta, Georgia, but this opportunity came to me. Thus, I began to travel outside the U.S. straight to my first destination, Turkey.

My first stop was amazing. My entire time there, I felt a different cultural atmosphere compared to Boston or Atlanta. This exposure was something that I did not know how to react to, so I just went along with this feeling of uncertainty. From walking along the stone streets of Turkey to taking the tram in Leipzig, Germany, I started to feel more at home. Which is a funny term to use since I was not native to neither of these locations. Once I reached Talloires, France, I felt like I returned “home.”

My first view of Talloires was Lake Annecy. Everyone who traveled here with me was in awe of its blue beauty and the nature surrounding it. By the time I start walking around, I met up with old and surprisingly new friends. I have had a snippet of what my courses will be like, my host’s way of living, and what France has to offer (so much cheese!!!). I am walking into a new, unknown world. As an aspiring, first-generation, person of color, engineer, I am ready to see what the next six weeks have in store for me.

Hernan Gallegos is a rising sophomore from Atlanta, Georgia, majoring in mechanical engineering.

Tufts in Talloires: To new perspectives

This summer, two students from the Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts (BEST) program will blog their experiences from Tufts in Talloires, a six-week summer program that offers students a dynamic group of courses taught by Tufts faculty in Talloires, France. Students enrolled in this program choose two courses from a selection of undergraduate offerings. In addition to coursework, a wide variety of optional outdoor activities, weekly hikes into the Alps, field trips, and organized events offer each student the opportunity to explore the unique Haute-Savoie region of France. 

Michelle 1 -  postBy Michelle Chan

“Je ne parle pas français.” Following the robot voice of Google Translate, I tried to learn a sentence, preparing to meet my host family who spoke no English. Even if I could pronounce anything correctly, nothing could have prevented the overwhelming first day at the dinner table in which I did not understand a single word of French.

I chose to study abroad through the Tufts in Talloires program precisely to experience this growth-promoting unfamiliarity. One advantage of studying abroad is that my peers are also adjusting to the new environment, so being bad at something suddenly becomes a little less embarrassing than usual. The old adage of “Everybody has to start somewhere” starts to feel realistically applicable. I glance around the dinner table at my French major roommate, my host parents, and the carton of grapefruit juice, feeling brave enough to give it a try, to say, “Pamplemousse.” Grapefruit. The official first word I learned in French.

My hopes for these six weeks extends past learning a language, but also includes gaining an understanding for French culture and taking unique classes contributing invaluable breadth to my engineering education.

One class I am particularly excited about is Global Health Crises, which the professor designed to be interdisciplinary in a way that causes students with a science background to complain about having too much policy, and those with a social science background to complain about having too much science. As a computer engineering major, which is frankly neither science nor policy, I find importance in learning these subjects to foster an understanding of the real world before tackling its problems.

Now is a good time to take a step back from technical work to develop new perspectives.

Michelle Chan is a rising sophomore from Eugene, Oregon, majoring in computer engineering.

Marcet wins Geosyntec student paper contest

Congratulations to Civil and Environmental Engineering doctoral candidate Tyler Marcet, who won Geosyntec’s seventh annual student paper contest for 2016. The contest is open to graduate students attending select universities in North America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Denmark, and it “recognizes and rewards students performing cutting-edge research related to the assessment and treatment of chemical contaminants in soil and groundwater.”

Marcet’s winning paper was titled “Impacts of Low Temperature Thermal Treatment on the Activity of PCE-to-ethane Dechlorinating Consortium.”

Tufts biomedical engineers preserve fruit with silk

Strawberry - slideA team of Tufts researchers, including professors David Kaplan and Fiorenzo Omenetto, have demonstrated a promising alternative for food preservation, using an ultra-thin coating of biocompatible silk to keep fruit fresh without refrigeration.

Their research has been published in Scientific Reports. In addition to Kaplan and Omenetto, authors include first author Benedetto Marelli, Ph.D., formerly a post-doctoral associate in the Omenetto laboratory and now at MIT; and Mark A. Brenckle, Ph.D., former research assistant in the Omenetto Laboratory, now at Columbia University.

Tufts team uses silk to stabilize blood samples

stabilizingbloodPNASMay2016

Encapsulating blood samples in silk protein extracted from silk worm cocoons protected biomarkers effectively, even at high temperatures. (Courtesy Tufts Silk Lab)

A team of Tufts University researchers, including Professors David Kaplan and Fiorenzo Omenetto, have stabilized blood samples without refrigeration, by using air-dried silk protein to encapsulate the samples. The technique has implications for clinical care and research that require analysis of biofluids like blood, and could open up new testing options for currently underserved populations.

The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. In addition to Kaplan and Omenetto, authors include co-first author Jonathan Kluge, Ph.D., former postdoctoral associate in the Kaplan lab; Adrian B. Li, Ph.D., scientist at Vaxess Laboratories and a former doctoral student in Tufts’ Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering; Brooke Kahn, B.S., research associate at Cocoon Biotech and former intern in the Kaplan laboratory; and Dominique S. Michaud, Sc.D., Tufts University School of Medicine.

Black Wins One of Two NCAA Scholarships

Black_NCAAEvery year, the NCAA awards a Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship to only two student-athletes selected from a nationwide pool of applicants. Byers Scholars are recognized for outstanding academic achievement as well as for potential for success in postgraduate study. This year, Tufts senior and three-time 800-meter national champion Mitchell Black is one of the two national awardees. Double-majoring in mechanical engineering and astrophysics at Tufts, Black plans to pursue his doctorate in aerospace engineering at either Georgia Tech or the University of Michigan.

Malik Receives Ricci Prize for Interdisciplinary Engineering Design

04/07/2016 - Medford/Somerville, Mass. -  Award presentation:  Inge Milde, director of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies (ELS) program & senior lecturer and Team Hujambo The 2016 $100K New Ventures Competition at Breed Memorial Hall in Tufts University, Thursday, April 7, 2016. (Chitose Suzuki for Tufts University)

Team Hujambo poses after winning the Ricci Prize.

In the 2016 $100k New Ventures Competition, first-year biomedical engineering student Shehryar Malik was part of team Hujambo, which received the Stephen and Geraldine Ricci Interdisciplinary Prize. The Ricci Prize is awarded to the project that best demonstrates interdisciplinary engineering design and entrepreneurial spirit. Hujambo designed a $10 high-tech smartphone that makes cellular service, messaging, data, and apps accessible across the globe.

Luo and Mohamud Take First Place in High-Tech Track

Mimir Insights, a Tufts student startup team,  pose for a photo after winning first place in the High-Tech / General category.

Mimir Insights, a Tufts student startup team, pose for a photo after winning first place in the High-Tech / General category.

Computer science juniors Ian Luo and Abdisalan Mohamud were part of the team that won first place in the $100k New Ventures Competition’s High-Tech / General track. Their winning company was Mimir Insights, which helps companies selling equipment and services to scientists find the best customers for their products, grow their existing customer base, and build lasting relationships.

Casey and Wan Win Awards for Engineering Education

Carter Casey, computer science

Carter Casey, computer science

Qianwen Wan, electrical and computer engineering

Qianwen Wan, electrical and computer engineering

Carter Casey (CS) and Qianwen Wan (ECE) received awards for Outstanding Graduate Contributor to Engineering Education for significantly enhancing the education programs of their departments. Casey and Wan received the awards at the 18th Annual Graduate Student Awards ceremony on April 29, 2016 in Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center.