This program is closed for Summer 2013. No more applications will be accepted.
The School of Engineering's Research Internship Program provides a great opportunity for high school students to tackle research problems in a college setting. Interns work in teams comprising of both high school sophomores and juniors on applied research projects under the constant guidance of Cooper Union undergraduate teaching assistants. Each project is supervised and mentored by Cooper Union faculty and covers fields such as civil, chemical, electrical, mechanical, biomedical and environmental engineering; mathematics, chemistry, and astronomy.
2013 SUMMER RESEARCH INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
CHEMICAL ENGINEERING – Ben Davis, Professor of Chemical Engineering
Engineering Polymers: How Plastics are Made
This project provides budding engineering interns an opportunity to learn how chemicals are
made and what sorts of processes are used to make them. A necessary part of making these
products is using energy and making waste – interns will learn about the different byproducts
of these chemical plants. Next interns will learn about polymers: how they are made, their
compositions, and their uses. Interns will be broken up into small groups and assigned a
particular type of polymer (e.g. polyethylene, polycarbonate, polystyrene), do their own research
report on it and give a preliminary presentation about their polymer to the class. After that,
we will learn more specifically about the chemical plants where these products are made; how
to find out what amounts of raw materials and energy you would need to make each product,
these wastes associate with its creation, etc. Finally, interns will create their own design for a
chemical plant which makes their polymer.
This project is primarily computational; interns will be expected to complete independent
research using a computer and be able to use a spreadsheet to keep track of data. There will be
two-hands-on activities in the chemistry laboratory where interns will be able to make their own
polymer material and see how the waste from creating these chemicals is treated.
Interns involved in this project should have had high school chemistry, have had algebra (and liked it, and are
comfortable on a PC.
CIVIL ENGINEERING –Joseph Cataldo and Vito Guido, Professors of Civil Engineering
Hurricane Sandy was one of the worst storms to make landfall in the northeastern United States
in recent times. The New Jersey coastline was decimated, lower Manhattan was flooded and
without power for many days, Staten Island saw catastrophic loss of life and property as well
as Coney Island the Far Rockaways. No one was left untouched. The combination of 90+mph
winds and high tides created tidal surges which flooded lower Manhattan, tunnels and subways.
The project proposed for the civil engineering section is what measures can be taken to prevent
storm surge damage and are feasible from both a constructions point of view and financially.
The interns will study and design systems to reduce the vulnerability of the city to superstorms.
During the course of study, coastal engineering topics will be presented. Beach composition
and characteristics, breakers, impact of storms will be some of the topics discussed. The
fundamentals of wave motion and mechanics will be considered (local fluid velocity,
acceleration and particle displacement). Wave particle experiments using the wave generator
in the hydraulic laboratory will be conducted by the interns. From this basic knowledge of
wave mechanics the interns will study remedial techniques like storm surge barriers (sea walls,
bulk heads, and revetments), inflatable plugs, and an ecosystem approach to protect our cities
from the super storms like Sandy. This ecosystem approach will protect the shoreline from
destructive wave energy and will provide shade from the sun, evaporative cooling, and runoff
reduction to name a few.
MECHANICAL ENGINEERING – Robert Dell, Adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering and
Director, Center for Innovation and Applied Technology
Saving the World: The Exploration of Sustainable Energy and Untapped Green Resources
This investigation will include creative problem solving, using sophisticated instrumentation and
accepted engineering practices. Computer modeling, hands on fabrication, and group problem
solving dynamics will be developed as the projects evolve from the initial concepts to finished
Participants will be able to identify potential methods of harvesting green energy while
becoming familiar with data collection, basic heat transfer, energy measurement and infrared
Potential green solutions can include cascade utilization, thermoelectrics, wind, waste heat, solar
and organic energy resources.
For more information, contact: Susan Dorsey, Director, 212-353-4286 or firstname.lastname@example.org.