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King Creativity Fund Supports 11 Projects for 2011-12

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    Senior physics major Eric Godat will use his King Creativity Fund grant to build a solar collector that can charge a thermal battery he has developed.

Projects will be presented at a symposium in April 2012

Eleven innovative student projects will become reality in 2011-2012, thanks to money from the King Creativity Fund.  

Among the projects funded this year are a mosaic mural made of recycled ceramic fragments, a machine that will dispense items need for bicycle repairs, a device that will collect the energy of people’s footsteps and convert it into electrical energy, and a low-cost method of detecting bacteria in food products before they are shipped to grocery stores.

This is the 12th year the King Creativity Fund has supported “innovative and visionary projects” proposed by Southwestern students. The fund was established in 2000 with an endowment provided by Southwestern alumnus W. Joseph “Joey” King. This year, $13,880 was awarded to fund the 11 projects. Students will present their projects at a symposium to be held on Monday, April 2, 2012.  

The 2011-2012 projects are as follows:

  • “Interdisciplinary Craft as Art Exhibition.” Mary Alyson Atkins, Andja Budincich and Emily Manning plan to implement an interdisciplinary community project culminating in an exhibit of crafts created by Southwestern students and faculty that draw on and cross multiple disciplines. The faculty advisor for the project is Elizabeth Green Mussleman.
  • “Instruments for Unequal Temperament.” Stinson Seuser and Laura Brackney plan to design and create instruments that can divide the octave into unequal parts and to experiment with composing and performing with these instruments. The faculty advisor for the project is Bill O’Brien.
  • “Programming Poetry: The Art of Adaptation and the Adaptation of Art.” Stephen Brown and Addison Dean plan to replicate the classical concept of “magnetic fridge poetry” in the digital realm and to collect and make use of the poems created with their program. The faculty advisor for the project is Suzanne Buchele.
  • “Project NEF-HOPE (Nuclear Energy Future – Halt Oil and Petroleum Energy).” Evan Firth and Vincente Estrada-Carpenter plan to build a a small nuclear fusion reactor that utilizes recycled deuterium tubes as a fuel source. The faculty advisor for the project is Steven Alexander.
  • “Automated Microorganism Detector.” Building on the work done by several previous King Creativity Grant recipients, Marisol Frausto-Martinez, Eric Godat, Tran Le, Jessilyn Massey and Heather Petty plan to develop a low-cost, time-efficient, and accurate method of detecting and quantifying bacterial species in food products before they are shipped to grocery stores. The faculty advisor for the project is Gerald Wade.
  • “Construction of a Solar Concentrator to work in tandem with a Passive Thermal Battery.” Eric Godat plans to examine a device that is capable of converting sunlight into high temperature heat, storing this energy in a thermal battery for long periods of time, and releasing it efficiently in such a way that electricity can be produced. This combination should provide a reliable source of clean, renewable energy. The faculty advisor for the project is Steven Alexander.
  • “Piezoelectric Energy Harvester.” Karl Kleinsasser plans to create a floorpad that will act as a passive energy harvester, collecting the energy of people’s footsteps and converting it into electrical energy. The faculty advisor for the project is Steven Alexander.
  • “The REM Dreamer as an Aid in Lucid Dream Induction.” Joey Kyle plans to study a device known as the REM-Dreamer, which contains infrared sensors to detect REM-sleep, the sleep stage most associated with dreaming. The faculty advisor for the project is Jesse Purdy.
  • “Mural for Environmental Studies Lounge in Mood Bridwell Hall.” Kira McEntire plans to create a mosaic mural on a section of the wall in the new Environmental Studies Lounge in Mood-Bridwell Hall. The mosaic will be made of recycled ceramic fragments, broken tiles and found objects. McEntire hopes the project will increase awareness about the possibility of reusing discarded ceramics as new artwork. The faculty advisor for the project is Patrick Veerkamp.
  • “Bike Fix Vend-o-matic.” Ben Parafina, Kira McEntire and Abbie Ornelas plan to retrofit a vending machine to dispense items such as tubes, patch kits, lights and tire levers that can be used to perform basic maintenance and repairs on bicycles. The machine also will have information on how to perform these simple repairs. The faculty advisor for the project is Laura Hobgood-Oster.
  • “SU Splash: Students Becoming Teachers.” Kavita Singh, Jacob Brown and Elizabeth Grenadier are organizing a one-day program called “SU Splash” that is designed to introduce high school students to the liberal arts and Southwestern. Students will come to campus for one day to attend classes taught by students, staff and faculty, as well as other volunteer teachers from around the community. The faculty advisor for the project is Julie Cowley.