Top WPI Graduate Researchers to Compete at Annual Poster and Presentation Competitions on April 14

April 10, 2014

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The finals of two annual graduate research competitions at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI): Graduate Research Achievement Day (GRAD) and i3: Investing in Ideas with Impact.

GRAD, also called the Innovation Exchange, is a showcase for the work of graduate students who are engaged in research. More than 220 master's and PhD candidates prepared posters about their innovative and impactful research and displayed them for the WPI community at an all-day celebration on March 19. Judges selected 66 students engaged in research in engineering, science, the life sciences and bioengineering, business, and the social sciences as finalists. Those students will display their posters again for judges and compete for cash prizes and certificates.

i3 is a campuswide graduate research presentation competition that encourages graduate researchers to think like entrepreneurs. The competition began this past winter with elimination rounds organized by WPI's academic departments and programs. The winners from those contests advanced to semifinal presentation competitions run by the deans of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and the School of Business. The competition concludes with presentations by 12 finalists before a panel of entrepreneurs and business leaders who will serve as judges. The finalists will make three-minutes pitches about their innovations without the aid of PowerPoint presentations, props, or visuals of any kind. The judges will award two cash prizes: for best concept and best presentation.


The afternoon will begin with the finalists from the GRAD competition, who will be available with their posters to talk about their research and answer questions.

Afterward, the 12 i3 finalists will make their pitches. They are:

Arts and Sciences

Sarah Hernandez, PhD Candidate, Biology and Biotechnology: "Diagnosing Pre-Cancer"

Xika Lin, PhD Candidate, Computer Science: "FIT: Finding Interesting Trends Inside Data"

Morgan Stanton, PhD Candidate, Chemistry and Biochemistry: "The Next Step in Cell Culture: Modified Scaffolds"

School of Business

Divya Shivkumar, MS Candidate, School of Business: "Do Banner Ads Affect the Engagement in a Mobile Game?"

Siavash Mortazavi, MS Candidate, Interactive Media & Game Development: "Gaze As Input: A New Way to Play Games"

Sitaram Ramaswamy, MBA Candidate, School of Business: "Feasibility Study and Company Valuation for Girihlet Inc., an Early-Stage Biotechnology Startup"


Heather Cirka, PhD Candidate, Biomedical Engineering: "Tracking Cells' Response to Dynamic Stretch"

Roberta Gentilini, PhD Candidate, Chemical Engineering: "Design of an Antimicrobial Injectable Hydrogel for Implant-Related Infections"

Kwabena Kan-Dapaah, PhD Candidate, Civil and Environmental Engineering: "A Novel Implantable Biomedical Device for Breast Cancer Treatment"

Lindsay Lozeau, PhD Candidate, Chemical Engineering: "AMProtection: Preventing Implant Infections in the First Place"

Bersain Reyes, PhD Candidate, Biomedical Engineering: "Novel Electrodes for Underwater ECG Monitoring"

Hannah Strobel, PhD Candidate, Biomedical Engineering: "Smooth Muscle Cell Rings for Cardiovascular Disease Modeling and Drug Testing"


Monday, April 14, 2014:

• 1-3 p.m.: GRAD 2014: The Innovation Exchange final poster presentation and judging

• 3-5 p.m.: i3: Investing in Ideas with Impact final presentations and judging.

• 5 p.m.: Awards ceremony and reception


Odeum, Rubin Campus Center, on the campus of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 100 Institute Road, Worcester, Mass.