EIT ‘SUPER’ Scholars bring research into focus this summer

Tucked away in a dark lab at UALR, 20-year-old Jermaine Marshall has spent his summer developing a communications app that has the potential to shape the way patient health-care records are handled in the future.

Using Near Field Communications (NFC) technology – in which smartphones and similar devices establishJermaine1 communication by touch – Marshall takes advantage of an unpowered NFC “tag” to store critical patient information digitally while also maintaining patient confidentiality with the simple touch of a fingertip.

Marshall belongs to a cohort of Engineering and Information Technology SUPER (Summer Undergraduate Program of Entrepreneurship and Research) Scholars who are researching different areas of engineering and information technology this summer.

Hosted by UALR’s Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology, each of the scholars is narrowly focused on research that has potentially broad implications for society.

While many of the scholars are from UALR, the University of Central Arkansas is also represented, with the goal to broaden the reach even more next year. Some of their areas of research include metamaterials, nanotechnology, telecommunication, robotics, digital signal processing, social networking, cloud computing, network security, and information quality.

The interdisciplinary nature of the research drives students to learn new concepts and skills for real-world impact, according to Dr. Abhijit Bhattacharyya, associate dean of the EIT college.

Bhattacharyya said the program is designed to expose Arkansas’s best and brightest engineering and information technology students to research and graduate studies in order to address the national challenge of boosting the numbers of domestic students in those critical fields.

“By closely working with other creative and innovative people, students explore, discover, and transform ideas into reality to advance society and improve people’s lives,” he said.

Scholars receive a monthly stipend and are required to prepare applications that they can use for submission to the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program and other federal fellowship programs. The NSF program allows successful students to take their fellowships to any graduate school in the United States.

The SUPER Scholars program culminates with a poster display and awards ceremony Friday, Aug. 9. See local television coverage of the Super Scholars program at: http://arkansasmatters.com/fulltext/?nxd_id=686262.

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