Emerging Researchers National Conference (ERN)

The Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Education and Human Resources Programs (HER) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Human Resource Development (HRD), within the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (HER). The conference is aimed at college and university undergraduate and graduate students who participate in programs funded by the NSF HRD Unit, including underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities.

The objectives of the conference are to help undergraduate and graduate students to enhance their science communication skills and to better understand how to prepare for science careers in a global workforce.
Here is their website:
http://www.emerging-researchers.org/files/2013/07/2014-ERN-Tentative-Conference-Agenda.pdf

Dr. Valles-Rosales and IE undergraduate students attended the2014 Emerging Researchers Conference National Conference in STEM sponsored by AAAS and NSF in Washington, DC:

  • Javier Garcia Mendoza 1st place in Social & Behavioral Sciences Poster Competition
  • Janette Torres 2nd place in Social & Behavioral Sciences Poster Competition

Dr. Valles-Rosales and IE undergraduate students attended the2014 Emerging Researchers Conference National Conference in STEM sponsored by AAAS and NSF in Washington, DC

The five students are currently New Mexico AMP students.

 

Intersection Traffic Safety: Red Light Violation Analysis
Javier Garcia-Mendoza, Industrial Engineering, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM
Faculty Mentor: Hansuk Sohn, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Industrial Engineering, Las Cruces, NM

Abstract:The goal of this research project is to assess the impact of the Safe Traffic Operations Program (STOP) on the road safety. Our study includes a total of 38,169 red-light violation records collected between March 2009 and February 2012. The hypothesis consists in the fact that the placing of cameras at main streets’ intersections would significantly lower its red-light violations. Two levels of data analysis were conducted – one is using trend analysis and the other is using statistical analysis such as the Kruskal-Wallis test and the Mann-Whitney test. Descriptive statistics suggest that a majority of the red-light violations occurred during daytime with two peak hours at 12pm and 4pm, and that the highest red-light violations occurred on Friday. The highest volume of the violations occurred within 1 second after the onset of the red-light signal, whereas the second highest volume of violations occurred more than 3 seconds after the red-light signal. No actual decreases were observed with either analysis in the number of red-light violations, but only increases or no changes. Therefore, negative preliminary conclusions were obtained towards the program. Future research may include understanding the correlations between red-light violations and crashes, drivers, and environmental factors.[Acknowledgement: This research was partially supported by the City of Las Cruces under grant #11-12-334 and a grant provided by NSF to New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation (AMP) under grant HRD# 135-011]

 

The Non-Parametric Data Analyses for Observational
Before-and-After Studies of the Speeding Violations Data
Janette Torres, Industrial Engineering, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM
Faculty Mentor: Hansuk Sohn Ph.D, Assistant Professor, Department of Industrial Engineering, New Mexico State University

 

Abstract:The Safe Traffic Operations Program (STOP) in the City of Las Cruces, NM was introduced in an attempt to improve traffic safety in March 2009. The goal of this research project is to assess the impact of the STOP on traffic safety. Our study includes a total of 12,400 speeding violation records collected from five camera sites in the city between May 2010 and April 2012. Two levels of data analysis were conducted – one using trend analysis and the other using statistical analysis such as the Kruskal-Wallis test and the Mann-Whitney test. Descriptive statistics show that after the STOP activation, the number of speeding violation was significantly decreased in four of five camera sites. Also, during the study period, none of the camera sites experienced an upward trend on the number of speeding violations. Therefore, we may conclude that the STOP operation has a positive impact on decreasing the speeding violation. However, note that the speeding violator’s average speed at the time of violation has not been changed. For future research, updating and collecting more speeding violation data will be essential to update the analysis and arise to new conclusions, also to understand the correlations among speeding violations and types of traffic accidents, different ways of driving, environment and unpredicted events. This study was supported, in part, by the City of Las Cruces under grant #11-12-334 and a grant from the National Science Foundation to NewMexico Alliance for Minority Participation (AMP) with grant # HRD-135011.

Properties of Plastic-Cellulosic Composite through simulation techniques using Accelrys Materials Studio 6.1
Cristina Villa, Industrial Engineering, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM
Faculty Mentor: Delia Valles-Rosales, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Department of Industrial Engineering, Las Cruces, NM

Abstract: Molecular dynamics simulations permit the study of complex, dynamic processes that occur in biological systems. It is the most detailed molecular simulation method which computes the motions of individual molecules. This technique solves equations of motion for a large number of particles in an isolated cluster or bulk and has become a powerful tool for answering scientific problems as numerical experiments for new materials without synthesizing them. Recently attention has been drawn to the utilization of bio-reinforced composites in several applications due to an increased concern for sustainability. Recent studies in Wood Plastic Composites (WPCs) that use materials other than wood with are taking a special emphasis on the utilization of more basic foundations such as Cellulose which is important component produced by every plant and it is the most abundant biological molecule in the world. This study investigates the miscibility and mechanical properties of pairings of cellulose and lignin with several different polymer matrices such as HDPE using molecular dynamics simulation techniques with the Accelrys Materials Studio 6.1 software. [Acknowledgement: This study is supported by the National Science Foundation to New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation (AMP) with grant # HRD-135011.]

Ergonomics Analysis of Innovative Sustainable PACE vehicle
Anita Martinez, Industrial Engineering, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM
Faculty Mentor: Delia Valles-Rosales, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Department of Industrial Engineering, Las Cruces, NM

Abstract: This research project is based on designing and developing a personal mobile vehicle which will carry one passenger and his/her cargo. This project is mainly focused on solving a mobility problem within a student community. Our design needs to be able to be ultra-light weight and must be powered or power assisted with a clean power source. We focused on investigating the optimal ergonomic parameters for this vehicle. We are designing this device based on forces and fatigues on specific body parts such as wrists, lower back, and rump. The analysis is based on the ergonomic factors of posture and reach-ability in correlation with the steering, seat, and pedals of the vehicle. Although ergonomics for traditional two and three wheeled vehicles have been understood, this specific vehicle design deviates from a standard model, so special care must be taken to understand how the forces experience by the user are different from a traditional one.

The methodology consists of modeling the device in a CAD software which in this case Siemens Unigraphics 8.0 is being used for the modeling of the actual vehicle. Then determine the design of experiment, identify each input factor of experiment, each varied by tolerance parameters taken from literature reviews. Input findings from the design of experiment are introduced into Siemens Technomatix Jack 7.1 ergonomics software to manipulate the human model for optimal comfort and ease in ease in reaching the pedals and steering for the 5 percentile female and 95 percentile male. The study began with the most comfortable seated pre-selected posture provided in Jack 7.1 and arranged the female and male models on the vehicle.

The conclusions of this study are focused on the adjust-ability of the pedals and steering mechanisms to fit a range of users sizes. Future research includes quantifying and measuring fatigue produced on the wrists, lower back, and rump; calculating ranges for the steering and pedals; consider the effects of short term and long term riding on the joints and specific body parts; and incorporating our findings into the design and making of the vehicle. [Acknowledgement: This study is supported by the National Science Foundation to New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation (AMP) with grant # HRD-135011.]

Polypropylene-Cellulose Nanocrystal Composites
Michael Carlock, Industrial Engineering, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM
Faculty Mentor: Ron Sabo, Ph.D. USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, WI.

Abstract: Cellulose Nano composites are novel material that uses reinforcements added to polymers to enhance performance, making them suitable for new applications which is predicted to play important roles in sustainable markets. Our goal is to use cellulose nanocrystals to enhance the performance of polypropylene composites. The Forest Products Lab is studying both chemical and mechanical methods to produce nanofibers. To accomplish this we will begin to evaluate the effect of cellulose nanocrystals on mechanical and thermal properties of polypropylene. Polypropylene and cellulose nanocrystals will be blended by various techniques, included solvent-and melt-blending, along with a coupling agent, and the blends will be injection molded into dog-bone samples and spun into fibers. The fibers will also be drawn, and the effects of polymer and CNC alignment will be evaluated. Extruded fibers containing CNCs showed modest strength increases, and post-drawn filaments dramatically stronger due to polymer alignment. [Acknowledgement: This study is supported by a generous gift from 3M, The University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School and National Science Foundation through the University of Wisconsin-Madison Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (DMR-0520527) and Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (DMR-0425880).]