Solar-powered milk refrigerator and automated toolbox inventory control among the best student projects at 2024 Showcase for Research and Creative Activities event

Students presented a range of research and course projects as part of the Washington State University Tri-Cities Showcase for Research and Creative Activities, on Wednesday.

The showcase gives students the opportunity to display and discuss the research and projects they have been working on and helps them practice skills they will use in their professional careers.

More than 45 projects were on display representing graduate and undergraduate students as well as the WSU Tri-Cities Clean Energy Ambassadors Network (CEAN) teams.  CEAN incorporates student teams working with WSU faculty, industry mentors and their peers to research clean energy and climate related topics, potential impacts on disadvantaged populations and ways to share their findings with their community.

Collage of student showcase winners
The following projects received awards:

  • Best Capstone in Electrical Engineering or Computer Science
    Automated Toolbox Inventory Control System, Reem Osman, Steven Pixler, Caitlyn Powers, Navin Sabandith, Caleb Thomas


  • Best Capstone in Mechanical or Civil Engineering
    Solar Powered Refrigeration System for Milk Transport, Josh Romero, Erick Martinez, Marcos Salas, Pascal Elsinghorst


  • Best Creative Project
    The Cloud, Emily Sierra


  • Best Undergraduate Project in Life, Biological, or Food Sciences
    Artificial light at night (ALAN) and bird-window collisions on the WSUTC campus, Nelly Pacheco


  • Best Undergraduate Project in Physical, Computer, or Engineering Sciences
    Low-Power Cooling System Redesign, Jacob Getchell


  • Best Graduate Project: (Tie)
    1. Effect of harvest time, alcohol concentration and maceration time on wine and grape phenolic composition and astringency perception – Juliana Pazos
    2. Comparison of Freeze-Killed versus Freeze-Dried Leaves for the Production of Frost Tainted Cabernet Sauvignon Wines – Mitchell Davey


CEAN Projects:

First PlaceFlowing Forward: Innovations in Efficiency for Archimedes Screw Generators
Raul Aguilera-Vazquez, Edgar Bustamante-Angel, Leo Gomez & Noel Saldana
Industry Mentors: Gary Spanner, Adrianna Miller (1st Washington), Noel Schulz (WSU/PNNL)

Second PlaceClearing the Air: Exploring Direct Air Carbon Capture and Storage in Eastern Washington
Student Ambassador Team: Sara Christensen, Elise Colson, Bailee Fehringer & Kalimae Mountain Industry Mentors: Todd Schaef (PNNL), David Heldebrant (PNNL), Jillian Cadwell (WSU Tri-Cities)

 Co-Third Place:

  1. Powering the University, Empowering the Community: A Campus Microgrid for Renewable Energy Generation and Education
    Student Ambassador Team: Asmita Acharya, Laurren Nirider, Nur Syeda & Manuella Tossa, Dae Ya Wah
    Industry Mentors: Noel Schulz (WSU/PNNL)
  2. Harnessing Energy Potential: Molten Salt
    Student Ambassador Team: Jordy Bautista, Jackie Figueroa, Rebecca Negrete-Ramos, Jose Vargas
    Industry Mentors: Tim Nies (Energy Northwest), Suh-Jane Lee (WSU Tri-Cities)

Judges for the Research and Creative projects included WSU Tri-Cities faculty and The CEAN posters were judged by the Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the WSU Tri-Cities Entrepreneur in Residence/Innovation Lab.

Many project ideas come from local business partners such as Bechtel, and Washington River Protection Solutions who have problems they are attempting to solve or are looking for alternative or more cost-effective solutions. In some cases, the student’s work is adopted and implemented by the sponsoring company, giving students hands-on experience developing real-world solutions that make a difference.