Public 2-Year Schools

RVCC’s Women in STEM Innovative Projects and Research

RVCC Engineering students Shayna Rumrill and Keri Rickman participated in a hands-on “Authentic Engineering Experience” course where Teams of four Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) Engineering students were tasked to design, prototype, manufacture, and deliver a real product to a real customer.

Shayna Rumrill

Shayna Rumrill’s Team produced a unique custom battery-free “shake-light” for a real China customer. The customer requested the shakelight to use as a novel gift for his visiting customers to demonstrate his company’s commitmen
t to higher-education and a “greener” environment. Rumrill’s student Team developed an induction power supply, the energy storage and LED lighting circuit, and customized 3D-Printed package complete with the Customer’s business name.

The Customer was delighted with the final product and the project work was formalized in a paper presented at the American Society for Engineering Education Northeast Conference.

Keri Rickman

Keri Rickman’s Team designed and built a laser-music system that transmits music across a room using only laser light. Using two micro-computer-controlled lasers, the Team sent laser beams to optical-detectors mounted on six independent audio speakers positioned around a performance room. The effect was to fill the performance room with music emanating from different locations and in time with the music to “shape” the music for a truly unique audience experience. A laser-music concert was given on campus and featured Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus.

The success of Rickman’s Team was presented at the American Society for Engineering Education Mid-Atlantic Conference in April 2017.

Throughout both projects, the team members were exposed to important practical skills typically learned only when in industry. The team members were treated and worked as professional Engineers. The emphasis was for the student Teams to achieve their own designs, experience their own failures and successes, resolve their own communications and scheduling conflicts, and to respond to customer critical comments. A key goal was to give students authentic hands-on product development and project execution experience to relate to potential internship and professional employers.

Shayna Rumrill graduated from RVCC in May 2016 in Chemistry and is currently a Junior at TCNJ majoring in Chemistry and Keri Rickman graduated from RVCC in December 2016 in Engineering Science and will transfer to a 4-year school for Mechanical Engineering.

RVCC Biomedical Engineering – Helping others Through Innovative Prosthetics

Helping others achieve more through innovative prosthetics is what motivates RVCC Engineering students Aimna Ishfaq and Jenna Nugent. Both students are using a combination of 3D-Printed mechanical prosthetics and bio-electrical nerve signals to demonstrate novel prosthetic applications.

Aimna Ishfaq

Participating with an international prosthetic organization named “E-Nable” (, both Ishfaq and Nugent worked independently at the RVCC Engineering Project Center to 3D-Print the parts of two different designs of mechanical hands. Through considerable careful effort, both assembled and refined the mechanical hand function and submitted the hands to the E-Nable organization. Both hands will form part of an aid shipment to India where they will be used directly to help children with hand-function disabilities.

Currently, Ishfaq is working on her Honors Capstone project where she is using a commercial micro-computer platform to detect bioelectrical signals from contracting muscles. The micro-computer system detects the faint electrical nerve impulses from the muscles and amplifies them into a stronger electrical output that can be used to actuate electrically powered devices. Ishfaq’s application is to allow the electrical signals from muscle contractions originating from any selected part of the body to remotely operate room lights instead of the use of hands to physically turn a light switch – a critical house-hold function for an impaired individual.

Jenna Nugent

In parallel, Nugent, enrolled in an Honors Research Independent Study class, is using the same micro-computer based system to turn muscle bio-electrical activity into a household lifting mechanism. The application uses the amplified muscle signal to activate a series of electrically powered servo-motors combined with engineered mechanical linkages. The system can be scaled for its intended use as a household lifting tool.

Aimna Ishfaq will graduate from the RVCC Engineering Science program in May 2017 and will pursue a Biomechanics and Rehabilitation degree at Rutgers. Jenna Nugent will transfer to TCNJ in Fall 2017 as Biomedical Engineering major.

Rebecca Sulla

Environmental Plastic – Plastic Particle Size from Wave Action

What happens to the plastic waste floating in the oceans? This question is the focus of RVCC Engineering student Rebecca Sulla’s RVCC Honors Capstone project this Spring 2017. More specifically Sulla is working to understand how small the pieces of plastic become when repeatedly impacted by wave action – an important issue for understanding to what animal life or at what point in the food-chain the plastics may have a negative effect.

Sulla collected commercial plastic items that had washed up on the New Jersey beaches as test samples. Plastic items that were exposed to the sun’s radiation were weaker and more easily broken down into small particles. Having chosen polyethylene milk-containers as a typical and model material, Sulla is using a student-made wave-simulation machine to mimic open-water wave action. The motor-driven tumbling barrel allows Sulla to measure the number and size of the resulting plastic particles as a function of the number of rotations. The main results to date indicate that the number of particles generated follows a mathematically distinct relationship with number of wave-action barrel rotations. Work is ongoing to determine if there is a particle size limit.

Rebecca Sulla will graduate from RVCC Engineering Science program in Fall 2017 and will transfer to a four-year college to pursue a degree in Environmental Engineering.

RVCC “Illuminut” Supply Chain – Where Engineering and Business Meet!

RVCC Marketing student, Samantha Fegely, is helping to lead an interdisciplinary opportunity launched in September 2016 where RVCC Engineering and Business students participate hands-on in the operation of a real manufacturing process to make, market, and sell a custom “shake flashlight” product.

Samantha Fegely

The shake flashlight, named the “Illuminut” was developed by Shayna Rumrill’s “Authentic Engineering Experience” Team (1st story) and was adopted as a product by the RVCC Business Club “Enactus”. The sales revenue is used to support the local community Food Bank where every revenue margin dollar is leveraged into $10 of Food Bank food.

Every custom Illuminut is made hands-on by RVCC Enactus and Engineering students working side-by-side using a purpose-built on-campus manufacturing line. Students learn first-hand the operation of a functional supply-chain business and experience state-of-the-art industry “Lean Manufacturing” methods. Fegely, who did not have experience using a soldering iron before this project, is now skilled at all process steps used to produce the Illuminut from winding power supply coils through soldering the electronic circuits.

Also, the leader of the Illuminut Sales and Marketing, Fegely and the Sales Team use a personal face-to-face sales approach. Fegely says, “The Illuminut is fully customizable by the customer, from the color of the case, to the 3D-Printed engraving on the side, to the color of the light. We delight our customers with exactly the customized product they want when they want it while we also build our Illuminut brand”. Fegely and the Team also hand-deliver the completed Illuminut products to each customer – complete with a personalized note emphasizing the contribution they make to the community through their purchase. To date Fegely and the Illuminut Team has generated over $550 in total revenue and generated over $3500 worth of equivalent Food-Bank for local families in need.

Samantha Fegely is currently a business major at RVCC who will graduate from RVCC in Spring of 2018. She plans to attend Pennsylvania State University to receive a B.S. degree in Marketing.

Students Hone Mechanical, Engineering Skills in Partnership Program with RVCC

Congressman Leonard Lance recently got a firsthand look at the mechanical and engineering skills of some talented students in the Mechatronics, Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing (MEAM) program, a partnership between Somerset County Vocational and Technical High School and Raritan Valley Community College.

Lance visited the students’ class at RVCC’s Advanced Manufacturing lab on February 23, where the 13 freshmen and two juniors explained their projects and demonstrated some of the facility’s equipment.

The MEAM program is a three-and-a-half-year, $650,000 New Jersey Department of Education partnership grant between SCVTHS and RVCC. Launched in September 2016, the project offers participants the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and the National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) Machining Level 1 Certification (CNC Production Technician) through RVCC by the end of the students’ senior year.

MEAM is designed to prepare students for academic and career success in the mechatronics and metalworking industries by promoting hands-on technical training and industry academic skills.