Lincoln Scholar among the 2014 honorees of the MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering

Inaugural MIT Lincoln Laboratory Beaver Works Barbara P. James Awards presented

On 15 May at a luncheon event, the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT presented 24 awards to 68 undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrated outstanding effort during the past year. Among the honorees is Michael L. Stern, a member of the Rapid Prototyping Group at Lincoln Laboratory. Stern is a co-recipient of the Carl G. Sontheimer Prize, which is presented to students who exhibit exceptional creativity and innovation in design. The award pays tribute to Sontheimer, an MIT engineering graduate who was a prolific inventor of varied devices, including a microwave-based direction finder used by NASA and the Cuisinart food processor.

Michael Stern uses the Lab's additive manufacturing equipment During his work at Lincoln Laboratory, Michael Stern has been investigating additive manufacturing's potential to rapidly create custom parts for prototype systems fabricated in the Engineering Division's hardware integration facility.

A master's degree candidate in mechanical engineering focusing on the design of high-performance, rapidly manufactured components, Stern was recognized for his work as part of a four-person team that was building a 3D printer that uses glass to create optically transparent components. "I led the technical focus on the glass-extrusion portion of the project, mainly because of my eight years of experience as a glass blower," says Stern. "The project was quite successful, and we created a working prototype capable of printing layered optically transparent glass objects, a first in the industry."

Extruded glass Glass object created by 3D printing
Molten glass is extruded at 1950°F in the additive manufacturing process (left) to fabricate the object seen on the right to the specifications programmed into the 3D printing program.

Stern, who joined Lincoln Laboratory in 2009, is currently a participant in the Lincoln Scholars Program. Under this competitive program that funds the pursuit of advanced degrees, technical staff members are full-time students during the academic year, performing their thesis research at the Laboratory, and continue as full-time contributors to their groups during semester breaks and after completion of their academic program.

At Lincoln Laboratory, Stern has been involved in projects to develop a radar calibration device, a wide-area surveillance sensor, and unmanned air vehicles. In 2013, he and coauthor Eli Cohen earned a distinguished paper award from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers for a technical article describing their development of the Variable Airspeed Telescoping wing Additive manufactured Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VAST AUAV).

Also presented at the celebratory luncheon was the first MIT Lincoln Laboratory Beaver Works Barbara P. James Memorial Award, given for excellence in project-based engineering. The recipients of this award are Lucille Hosford, Jacqueline Sly, and Katelyn Wolfenberger, MIT seniors who were members of the Engineering Systems Design/Development two-semester course that designed, built, and tested a power source for an unmanned undersea vehicle. The three demonstrated outstanding leadership on this project: Wolfenberger as the CEO of the entire project, Hosford as the head of the systems integration team, and Sly as the lead for the aluminum hydroxide waste-management team.

Photo of the 3 winners of hte MIT Lincoln Lab Beaver Works Award  
Robert Shin (far left), director of the Beaver Works Center and head of Lincoln Laboratory's Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance and Tactical Systems Division, presented the first annual MIT Lincoln Laboratory Beaver Works Barbara P. James Memorial Awards to (left to right) Jacqueline Sly, Lucille Hosford, and Katelyn Wolfenberger. The three students were recognized for their outstanding work on the capstone project for the Engineering Systems Design/Development two-semester course taught by Prof. Doug Hart (far right) of the MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering.

This award was established by the Beaver Works Center, a jointly supported (MIT School of Engineering and Lincoln Laboratory) educational facility promoting collaborative, hands-on engineering projects. The unmanned undersea vehicle project has been a multiyear partnership between the Department of Mechanical Engineering's design classes taught by Prof. Doug Hart and technical staff members of the Laboratory's Advanced Sensor Techniques Group. The award was supported by the Barbara P. James Fund, a Lincoln Laboratory endowment that sustains STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) educational activities.

Posted July 2014

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