Monday, August 28, 2017

University of Hartford Welcomes More Than 1,500 New Students

First-year students all signed the Class of 2021 banner.

Reach out, ask for help, and we will do everything we can to make you successful,” University of Hartford President Gregory Woodward promised to the more than 1,500 new students who packed Lincoln Theater for their Convocation on Saturday, Aug. 26.  Woodward also assured the members of the Class of 2021 that they have many opportunities ahead of them.

“You will continue to grow and evolve," Woodward said. "You also have another option. You can decide right now to start over…you have a clean slate.”

The Class of 2021 heard from three upperclassmen who have made the most of their opportunities at UHart. Nina Vazquez ’19, a criminal justice major in the University’s College of Arts and Sciences, talked about how about her professors guided her toward an internship with the Connecticut Secretary of State. Nick Mamet ’18, a marketing and economics and finance major in the Barney School of Business, encouraged the new students to study abroad and get involved on campus. And Mark Markiewicz ’18, a mechanical engineering major in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture, told the crowd about his trip to Kentucky to livestream the total solar eclipse for NASA.

Members of the Class of 2021 were chosen from more than 15,000 applicants. They arrived on campus from 35 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and 26 countries, including Venezuela, China, Denmark, and Ethiopia.

After Convocation, the entire class marched behind President Woodward, who carried the Class of 2021 banner, up to the campus lawn and formed a giant human “H.” They were all wearing red shirts with the words “This Is Water.” That phrase comes from a speech by David Foster Wallace, which President Woodward quoted from in his Convocation remarks, urging people not to take things for granted and to have empathy for others. The first-year students will receive copies of the “This Is Water” book.

Over the next few days, new students will participate in other campus traditions, including a barbecue, Liftoff (day-trips and on-campus activities), and a block party. Classes begin on Tuesday, Aug. 29.

UNOTES - 8/28/17

Thursday, August 24, 2017

UHart Students Livestream Total Solar Eclipse

This Is Our Moment

As the moon moved between the earth and the sun over Paducah, Ky., on Aug. 21, University of Hartford student Mark Markiewicz ’18 was one of the only people not looking at the sky. The mechanical engineering major in the University's College of Engineering, Science, and Technology (CETA) was furiously typing on a laptop, trying to communicate with satellites controlling NASA’s livestream of the total solar eclipse. Mark, mechanical engineering major Stefan Keilich ’18, and their professors had just launched a balloon carrying a camera that was supposed to contribute images to the stream. Unfortunately, the camera was not cooperating.
“When it finally went up, and then when we got the signal, wow. It was all worth it.”
“It’s not working,” Mark exclaimed as thousands of people focused on the disappearing sun at the watch party at West Kentucky Community and Technical College. “What is going on?”
"Just stop for a minute," Stefan calmly told his friend. “You have to see the eclipse.”
The 2017 total solar eclipse was the reason they worked for months with the NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium, drove more than a thousand miles to Kentucky, and spent hours assembling equipment in the middle of a Kentucky field in 100-degree heat. As the air turned cooler and the sky went dark, Mark finally looked up at the black circle surrounded by a glowing ring of light.
“Oh my God,” Mark yelled! “This is the single greatest thing I have ever seen to date!”
“Look at that ring of light! It’s beautiful,” Stefan exclaimed.
Mark and Stefan could not contain their excitement over seeing this once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon. For these two friends, who grew up together in Windsor, Conn. and share a love of space, the moment was a dream come true. But then it was back to work. Fortunately, they were able to fix the camera and it beamed images onto NASA's website for people around the world to enjoy.
CETA faculty train their students to solve problems. That training proved invaluable on this day. From rolls and rolls of duct tape to a fuse yanked from a pick-up truck, Mark and Stefan used whatever they could find to make their task of launching a balloon carrying a camera to broadcast the eclipse a success.
Their first launch attempt failed when the payload disconnected and crashed to the ground, but they didn’t give up. Students and professors immediately sprinted across the field to grab more helium for a second attempt. University of Bridgeport students who also were part of the onsite team jumped in to help get the second balloon ready for launch. With the pressure of a large crowd watching their every move and time running out they double and triple checked all systems and did a second lift-off. This eight-foot-tall helium balloon and its payload drifted flawlessly toward the sky on its way to 80,000 feet.
“It was so exciting for the students,” said University of Hartford Professor Hisham Alnajjar, director of the Connecticut Space Grant Consortium who was onsite with the team. “When it finally went up, and then when we got the signal, wow. It was all worth it.”
The NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium, with UHart as its lead institution, is an affiliate of a federal grant, internship, and scholarship program funded as part of NASA's Office of Education designed to broaden the participation of universities and individuals in aerospace science, engineering, and technology.
UH Website - 8/24/17

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

University of Hartford Professor and Students Use the Solar Eclipse to Inspire a New Generation of Scientists

As the total solar eclipse of 2017 made its way across the United States, a University professor and two engineering students worked with hundreds of young visitors at the Connecticut Science Center to make sure they’d never forget the day.

Electrical engineering and computer science double major Erin Sussmann ‘20 and physical therapy major Adrienne Fischer ’19 showed children a sun and moon relativity activity done with Oreo cookies and helped them create a pinhole viewing projector. “The pinhole filter means simply poking a hole in a paper plate that visitors have decorated,” said Erin. Adrienne added, “The hole lets the sun shine through and cast a shadow on the ground, but it’s not to be used to look through toward the sun.”  The Oreos were helpful in showing children the relative sizes of the sun and moon. (The sun is about 400 times larger than the moon.)

Young people and their parents were also able to watch a live stream of the NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium (CTSGC) team’s launch in Paducah, Kentucky of an eight-foot tall weather balloon. UHart students and professors are part of the team along with University of Bridgeport students and faculty. You can read more about their eclipse project here. The balloon ascended to an altitude of nearly 90,000 feet carrying a video camera that transmitted a live feed to NASA. (Watch for a story about their day later this week.)

At the Science Center, Cater Arico, Assistant Professor of civil and biomedical engineering and Associate Director of CTSGC said, “The next total solar eclipse visible in the United States will be on April 8, 2024, traveling a diagonal path crossing from Texas to Maine.” It’s possible some of today’s young scientists will be studying science at UHart by then!

Adrienne Fischer ’19 (pictured left) and Erin Sussmann ’20 (pictured right) help children decorate a pinhole viewing projector.

UNOTEs - 8/22/17

Monday, August 21, 2017

Nagurney Publishes on FirstNet and Emergency Communications in The Conversation

Ladimer S. Nagurney, Professor of Electrical, Computer, and Biomedical Engineering in CETA, has had the article, FirstNet for emergency communications: 6 questions answered, published in The Conversation. The article describes the new wireless broadband communications network currently being deployed in the US for first responders' use during emergency and disaster situations. FirstNet is one of the largest Public Private Partnerships ever undertaken in the US.

The article has been reprinted in several new outlets including the Stamford (CT) Advocate, Danbury News-Times, the Albany Times-Union, the San Francisco Chronicle (SFGate), the Idaho Press-Tribune, and the Skagit (WA) Valley Herald.

Professor Nagurney's co-author is Professor Anna Nagurney of the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst.

UNOTEs - 8/17/17

UHart and the Solar Eclipse: NASA CTSGC Leadership Team Shares Ways to Get Involved

The NASA CTSGC (Connecticut Space Grant Consortium) leadership team is very excited for Monday’s solar eclipse. We have been quite busy organizing several activities associated with this once-in-a-lifetime event, which we hope you will consider engaging with.

Eclipse Ballooning Project:  The NASA CTSGC team, comprised of students and faculty from University of Bridgeport and University of Hartford, will launch high altitude balloons that engage in three separate activities: (a) NASA experiment to study extreme weather conditions, (b) measure climate conditions during an eclipse using radiosondes, and (c) livestream the solar eclipse. The balloons, which will be launched from Paducah, Kentucky, are expected to reach an altitude of up to 100,000 during the solar eclipse.

Here’s how you can watch:
NASA TV will have a 4-hour special on the day of the eclipse which includes live reporting across the path of totality throughout the US:

University of Hartford stream: University of Hartford EBP Live Stream Channel:

University of Bridgeport stream: University of Bridgeport EBP Livestream Channel:

Social media: (use #Eclipse2017CT)

Facebook: University of Hartford

Twitter: Follow NASA CTSGC (@CTSpaceGrant) and/or search for hashtag #Eclipse2017CT or @UofHartford

Instagram: Follow NASA CTSGC (@CTSpaceGrant) and/or search for hashtag #Eclipse2017CT or

Snapchat: uofhartford

Harrison Libraries: If you are on campus, the library will show streaming of the solar eclipse including the University of Hartford stream. More information on campus viewing event

The Connecticut Science Center in downtown Hartford and NASA CTSGC have developed Eclipse Day Activities for museum visitors lead by Cater Arico, Associate Director of NASA CTSGC and two University of Hartford students. Updates and videos from our student and faculty team in Kentucky and a livestream of the NASA CTSGC Eclipse Ballooning Project will be shown.

Bridgeport Museum and Planetarium and NASA CTSGC have developed Eclipse Day Activities for museum visitors to be offered by NASA CTSGC consortium members.

Team members:
Jake Courser, Student and Alum
Stefan Keilich, Student (traveling to KY)
Jon Malloy, Student and Alum
Mark Markeiwicz, Student (traveling to KY)
Zack Siegel, Student and Alum
Claudio Campana, Research Engineer (traveling to KY)
John Ferreira, Assistant Professor (traveling to KY)
Patricia Mellodge, Associate Professor and ECE Dept. Co-Chair
Hisham Alnajjar, Team Leader and Director of NASA CTSGC (traveling to KY)

Background of NASA CTSGC EBP:

NASA CTSGC website: Visit our website at and select Eclipse Ballooning Project NASA CTSGC EBP Video

Fox61 story (w/ video) of EBP:

YouTube story of UH EBP team:

We hope you are excited about the eclipse and choose to get involved in some of these activities.

Happy eclipse viewing!

UNOTES - 8/21/17

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Milanovic Presents at NASA GRC Meetings

The 4-strut nozzle: pressure iso-surfaces.

Ivana Milanovic, professor of mechanical engineering in CETA, successfully completed the NASA Glenn Faculty Fellowship 2017. Fellowship was hosted by the Propulsion Division and the duration of tenure was 10 weeks. Milanovic’s research focused on the acoustic resonance ‘modes’ and ‘standing waves’ related to the resonance that lead to methods for suppression or avoidance of such tones in aircraft engines. Milanovic presented her collaborative research in the following NASA GRC meetings:
  • Inlets & Nozzles Branch Meeting on August 10. The title of the presentation was ‘Resonance & Tones in Multi-Stream Nozzle Flows.’
  • Transformational Tools and Technology (TTT) & Commercial Supersonic Technology (CST) Project Meeting on August 9. The title of the presentation was ‘Investigation of Tones with Multi-Stream Nozzles.’
  • 2017 NASA Glenn Research Day Poster Session on July 28, Cleveland, OH. The title of the poster was ‘Resonance & Tones in Flow.’
Research has been done in collaboration with Khairul Zaman, Inlets & Nozzles Branch, and  Christopher Miller, Acoustics Branch of NASA Glenn Research Center. The project studied numerically multi-stream nozzle flows and associated resonance phenomena. Numerical results were validated with experimental data obtained in open jet facilities and wind tunnels. This research was also featured in NASA GRC Highlight on Nozzle Flow/Acoustic Simulation.

UNOTEs - 8/16/17

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Students, Professors, and Scientists Practice Balloon Launch in Preparation for Total Solar Eclipse

Our Lessons Launch Futures

“Three… two… one… liftoff” was heard on a University of Hartford athletics field as a team of University of Hartford and University of Bridgeport students released an eight-foot tall helium-filled weather balloon on August 9. The launch was a practice run for a launch on Aug. 21 that will enable millions of people  to see a once-in-a lifetime solar eclipse across the United States.

Two UHart students and three professors are part of the team, which is working with the NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium (CTSGC). A total of 55 teams are participating in the eclipse live stream, capturing video along the path of totality, from the Pacific coast in Oregon to the Atlantic coast in South Carolina. The moon is expected to completely cover the sun for approximately two minutes.

“Today’s objective is for the students to be the leaders in this dry run, so we’re essentially here as spectators. They’re in charge,” said Assistant Professor Mary Arico.
The Connecticut team’s balloon will be based at Kenlake Resort in Hardin, KY, near the spot where the eclipse is expected to be in totality for the longest amount of time. They will launch approximately 90 minutes prior to the eclipse, as they anticipate the balloon will climb an average of 1,000 feet per minute to reach an altitude of close to 100,000 feet. The balloon will carry a 12-pound payload consisting of a video camera, still camera, and GPS tracking system. This is part of a nationwide, NASA-sponsored initiative to live-stream aerial video footage of the solar eclipse.

UHart mechanical engineering major Mark Markiewicz ’18 said, “We’re testing today in preparation for the real event by following exact launch day procedures to trouble-shoot and anticipate any problems that might occur during those two minutes of darkness during the total eclipse. We also have to time it so that once the eclipse has passed, we can retrieve the balloon, which will have burst while the payload parachutes back to earth.”

“Today’s objective is for the students to be the leaders in this dry run, so we’re essentially here as spectators. They’re in charge,” said Assistant Professor of Civil and Biomedical Engineering and Associate Director of CTSGC, Mary Arico.

The students took the lead, and the launch into the atmosphere was considered a smooth one.

Team member and UHart mechanical engineering major Stefan Keilich ‘18 said the idea that “hundreds of millions of people” will be watching the broadcast is thrilling and “makes the inherent pressure of the project worth it.”

The practice launch was a learning experience and revealed some needed adjustments. “We learned that we’ve got to practice with our tracking system again and again until we perfect it,” said Mark. The practice balloon traveled over southeastern Massachusetts at an altitude higher than planned and went farther than the anticipated retrieval site in eastern Connecticut.

Live viewing of the eclipse will be available on NASA’s website, on August 21 beginning at 12 noon EDT. Follow on social media using #Eclipse2017CT.

NASA CTSGC, with UHart as its lead institution, is an affiliate of a federal grant, internship, and scholarship program funded as part of NASA's Office of Education designed to broaden the participation of universities and individuals in aerospace science, engineering, and technology.

UH Website - 8-10-17