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Lessons Learned From a Robotic Snake Jaw: Meet Lauren Garofalo and Samantha Sandler, 2020 Falvey Scholars

By Shawn Proctor

This is part 3 of a 6-part series featuring the 2020 Falvey Scholars. Read more about them each Tuesday and Thursday, and in the upcoming issue of Mosaic, the library’s bi-annual publication.

Villanova “Wild Facts”

Lauren Garofalo ’20 (Mechanical Engineering)
Hometown: Egg Harbor Township, N.J.
Additional Honors: Magna Cum Laude, Kevin R. Scott ’85 Memorial Scholarship, Boeing Summer Business Institute Scholarship, Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, Drexel GAANN Fellowship,
Samantha Sandler ’20 (Mechanical Engineering)
Hometown: Long Island, N.Y.
Additional Honors: Magna Cum Laude, Dean’s Award Recipient for Meritorious Service, Dr. Neville Distinguished Student Award, Tau Beta Pi Honor Society, Pi Tau Sigma Honor Society

Faculty Mentor:
Deeksha Seth, PhD, Assistant Teaching Professor
Research: “Evaluation of a Snake Jaw Robot to Teach Integrated Biology, Mathematics, and Engineering”

In Their Own Words

Their research:

Lauren Garofalo: We tested the effectiveness of robots as educational tools to teach integrated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects, ignite students’ interests in STEM and studying STEM in college, and increasing students’ feelings of belongingness within the STEM fields.
Samantha Sandler: Robots are a great educational medium because their integrated nature incorporate all features critical to design. The integrated aspects of design tend to spur the students’ ability to recognize the integrated nature of the subject matter itself. In the case of the snake jaw robot, the focus was the functionality of the quadrate bone, but the students recognized connections to degrees of freedom, angles of rotation, and forces.
By presenting a snake jaw robot and snake jaw video presentations, we were able to evaluate the performance of robotics compared to conventional educational techniques. The results of our study were that the robot performed significantly better in its ability to increase interest in STEM and recognize connections between natural phenomenon and engineering.
Falvey’s Impact on Their Work:
Lauren: Library staff helped me find the resources we needed to supplement preliminary research regarding state of the art of robotics as educational tools. The resources and databases helped us perform statistical analysis of our data. Since we used Likert-Scale questions in our survey, we needed to do some research on appropriate statistical testing to ensure meaningful, accurate results.
Samantha: The Falvey staff did a great job in presenting the resources available at the library, which greatly impacted my ability to access full publications of journal articles for free. The Library’s resources played a critical role in our ability to understand the currently practiced educational techniques and the impacts of integrated education. Additionally, the Library’s resources were very helpful for understanding the various methods of statistical analysis.
The Impact on Them:
Lauren: I am definitely still interested in pursuing robotics. Generally, I will be straying away from the educational component, but I am still interested in looking at robots as tools to help people.
Samantha: This project has helped me recognize my interests in product design and robotics. This research was a unique opportunity to combine my major in Mechanical Engineering with my minor in Engineering Entrepreneurship. I began this research particularly interested in evaluating the design of the robot with respect to the desired functionality. It was interesting because though the robot met all of the design criteria prompted by the customer at the Academy of Natural Sciences, our research allowed us to recognize features we would optimize in the future to better achieve the desired learning objectives. These results allowed us to recognize the importance of focusing on the desired impact of the product with respect to design and functional analysis.
What’s next:

Lauren: I am pursuing a doctorate in Mechanical Engineering at Drexel University, studying under Dr. James Tangorra.

Samantha: I will be working in Melbourne, Florida for L3Harris Technologies as a designer in the Space and Airborne Systems Sector.

Shawn ProctorShawn Proctor, MFA, is Communications and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


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Last Modified: June 25, 2020