Legislators See UI Engineering Research Up Close During Interactive Tour

The University of Iowa Office of Research and Economic Development hosted four state legislators on an interactive tour of campus research activities,

including two College of Engineering areas, Thursday, Nov. 12, for an event called “University of Iowa Research: Legacy and Leadership.”

Following a welcome by UI Vice President for Research and Economic Development Daniel A. Reed, Senators Rita Hart, of Wheatland, and Bob Dvorsky, of Coralville, and Representatives Dean Fisher, of Garwin, and Dave Heaton, of Mount Pleasant, met with faculty, staff, and students from the Graduate College, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the College of Engineering to see some of the latest research from across the disciplines.

During the four-hour tour, the legislators watched a papermaking demonstration at the UI Center for the Book; visited the Van Allen Observatory to learn about the latest astronomical research being conducted by faculty and staff in the Department of Physics and Astronomy; watched three-minute “pitch” presentations by undergraduate researchers; watched a demonstration of the UI’s “Virtual Soldier”; and visited and got to simulate flight in research aircraft in the Operator Performance Laboratory at the Iowa City Airport.

The stops were hosted by Timothy Barrett, director of the UI Center for the Book and associate professor in the School of Library and Information Sciences; Robert Mutel and Cornelia C. Lang, professor and associate professor, respectively, in the Department of Physics and Astronomy; Thomas Schnell, director of the Operator Performance Lab and associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering; and Kim Farrell, a software engineer with the Virtual Soldier Research Program.

Legislators also had a chance to visit the UI Mobile Museum at the airport.

During lunch, legislators heard presentations from undergraduate students who had previously taken part in the "Pitch Your Project" program, a three-minute research story competition sponsored by the Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates. Maya Amjadi, of Cedar Falls, a junior studying biology, did introductions; Tom Werner, of Cedar Rapids, a junior studying computer science and mathematics, presented on the topic of cyberbullying; Skylar McSorley, of San Luis Obispo, California, a senior studying speech and hearing sciences, presented on how dynamic noise reduction may improve the effectiveness of hearing aids; and Danny Linggonegoro, of Sheldon, Iowa, a junior studying health and human physiology, presented on the topic of preeclampsia.

Other UI representatives who participated in the tour included Marc Armstrong, associate dean for graduate and online education, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Sarah Larsen, associate dean for academic and administrative affairs, Graduate College; Milan Sonka, associate dean for research and graduate programs, College of Engineering; Ann Ricketts, assistant vice president for the Office of Research and Economic Development; and Keith Saunders, director of state relations.

The Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development provides resources and support to researchers and scholars at the University of Iowa and to businesses across Iowa with the goal of forging new frontiers of discovery and innovation and promoting a culture of creativity that benefits the campus, the state, and the world.