College of Technology Students Tackle Ambitious Research Goals


Sara Khalil (left) in the lab with Manvika Mohan, UH graduate student. Right: Aqib Hasnain, mechanical engineering technology student.
Sara Khalil (left) in the lab with Manvika Mohan, UH graduate student. Right: Aqib Hasnain, mechanical engineering technology student.

While many see the summer as a time to relax from the complexities of academic life, Aqib Hasnain and Sara Khalil spent their summer in labs at the University of Houston taking on challenging research projects. Both students participated in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship at the University of Houston (SURF-UH), the 10-week research fellowship that began on June 1 and ended on August 7.

Sara, an incoming senior majoring in electrical power engineering technology, set her sights on extending the network lifetime of wireless sensor networks through the use of direct methanol fuel cells. Throughout the program, Sara received the guidance and support of College of Technology faculty member Dr. Xiaojing Yuan.

In another laboratory, Aqib worked under the direction of Dr. Kamran Alba from the Department of Engineering Technology in the College of Technology. Aqib focused on improving the design and construction of oil wells by studying the mechanics of immiscible fluid-fluid displacement flow.

Aqib, a mechanical engineering major, first became interested in the field after taking an Introduction to Fluid Mechanics at the College of Technology. "Fluid dynamics is an extremely important field in engineering with interesting physical phenomena," Aqib said. "When it came time to choose my research project, I knew I wanted to explore the area further."

Aqib believes the SURF-UH program is a valuable opportunity to gain research experience at an undergraduate level and prepare for the future. "The program helped me narrow down my areas of interest," he said. "I feel that I now have a clearer idea of what I want to study in graduate school."

Aqib plans to continue working in the laboratory throughout the fall semester. "It would be nice to have the results of the research published," he said. "That would be a great ending for our hard work."

The students will present their research at Undergraduate Research Day, which will take place October 22.

About the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship - UH

The SURF-UH program provides funding for rising UH sophomores, juniors and seniors to participate in a focused, full-time, research experience under the direction of UH faculty. For more information about the SURF program please visit http://www.uh.edu/honors/undergraduate-research/uh-research/surf/.