Student, Staff and Faculty Highlights

2024

2023

Joseph Aubut, a mechanical engineering sophomore, beams about his work at the Olson Center. "The thing that I enjoy most about the Olson Center is the ability to gain experience so early into my college career; not many people my age can operate a 5-axis CNC milling machine, which I think is very cool!"

Last summer, Joseph was vital in a project for local NH company Rogue Space. Working with the center's program manager, Nathan Daigle, and several interns, the team made camera enclosures and a GUP thermal interface surface for the flight hardware on one of Rogue's in-space Orbots (orbital robots). Rogue calls this particular Orbot Barry-1. Due to a short deadline and the project's complexity, the team members broke off into pairs and tackled the project collaboratively to help Rogue meet their launch date.

For Joseph's part, he worked closely with fellow intern Johnathan Janney on the 5-axis CNC machine, as the highly complex parts required milled features on all sides. Joesph said that the completed project was immensely gratifying. His favorite part of the process was going to the UNH Space Science Center in Morse Hall to clean the completed parts through a series of ultrasonic baths and drying with compressed pure nitrogen. He found it interesting to see other aspects of manufacturing for outer-space applications.

Joseph feels that the Olson Center allows him to solve challenges and find innovative solutions. He is still thinking about where he wants to go in the future but feels confident that mechanical engineering is where he wants to be.

Written by Katelyn Clark '24

Mechanical engineering Ph.D. candidate Shayan Darzi is researching new applications of the double-sided incremental forming (DSIF) machine at the Olson Center. Alongside his advisors, Shayan's research aims to utilize the DSIF process's flexibility to change the mechanical properties of sheet metal parts as they are being formed. By doing so, he seeks to create pieces with tailored mechanical properties that can be used in various applications, particularly in the medical field.

Shayan's research primarily aims to create patient-specific implants for individuals with fractures in their skulls or other body parts. Traditionally, implants are not customized to the specific patient, limiting their performance and healing time. Shayan's research aims to convert CT scan data into a CAD model. He then intends to use the CAD model and form the implant through the DSIF machine to produce a customized implant for each patient.

The key challenge lies in achieving higher strength in specific areas of the implant, such as the edges that will be mounted to the cranial bone, without changing the overall thickness of the part. Utilizing the DSIF machine is imperative as it offers flexibility in forming complex shapes and modifying the mechanical properties of the sheet metal during the forming process. Shayan plans to create implants tailored to each patient's anatomy and possess superior mechanical properties to enhance their performance in the patient's body.

Although Shayan and his advisors are still researching the ability to change the mechanical properties of these metals, this research is a fascinating step forward for the capabilities of metal sheet forming.

Written by Katelyn Clark '24

Photo by Jeremy Gasowski

Benjamin Mitchell, a UNH alumnus and recent Ph.D. recipient in Mechanical Engineering, is exploring new research and manufacturing avenues through his start-up business, Drop-Slice. Ben started Drop-Slice at the Olson Center after completing his Ph.D., which focused on a novel waterjet cutting technique that uses droplets to cut, or “slice” through, materials. In addition to being a small business owner, he is a UNH adjunct faculty member and part-time engineer at TurboCam in Barrington, NH.

Through funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), and with help from the facilities at the Olson Center, and his advisor Brad Kinsey, Ben continues the research he started as a PhD candidate. His work is based on droplet impacts and their capacity to erode high-strength materials, such as steel, in a clean and efficient manner. Ben’s Water Droplet Machining prototype is an eco-friendly and precision-based alternative to the traditional Abrasive Water Jet.

Although traditional abrasive water jet machines have played a crucial role in cutting high-strength materials (metals, aluminum, and titanium steel), they come with drawbacks such as high operating costs, environmental concerns, and difficulties in achieving clean cuts. That is where the concept of water droplet machining, which eliminates abrasives, has emerged as a potential alternative for some specialized applications.  

Ben’s machine employs a high-speed water jet within a vacuum environment, where a series of tiny droplets impact the workpiece at high velocities. This technique erodes the material, allowing for precision cutting without abrasive contamination.

The process of droplet formation occurs naturally and is observed in everyday settings, such as a kitchen sink or a shower. By harnessing this phenomenon, water droplet machining achieves narrow cuts with a minimal width, as thin as 10 thousandths of an inch, e.g., 0.010”, comparable to the width of a human hair. The absence of abrasives results in high-quality parts without the risk of abrasive particle embedment or a heat-affected zone.

While water droplet machining demonstrates significant potential, further research and development are required to identify the erosion mechanisms and unlock its full capabilities and viability in the manufacturing industry. Ben is still testing the market for this technology, with ongoing efforts to identify interested industries and establish partnerships. Ben hopes to transition into an original equipment manufacturer and expand the machine's capabilities to handle larger parts, in addition to making process improvements to the original machine.

Water droplet machining has the potential to create new markets and cater to niche applications, such as cutting ceramics, circuit boards, and composite materials. Overcoming the challenges associated with adoption and improving cost-effectiveness will be critical to expanding the reach of this innovative cutting method. Ben is excited to discover just what his machine can do as he feels he has barely scratched the surface.

Written by Katelyn Clark '24

Photo by Jeremy Gasowski

The Olson Center provides students with the resources and space to immerse themselves in their research and new findings. Graduate student, Abrar Ebrahim has done just that as he is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in metal forming and plasticity after obtaining his master's degree in metallurgical and materials engineering from the Indian Institute of Madras, Chennai, India. Abrar’s current research (funded by NH BioMade) focuses on integrating machine-learning techniques into the fields of metal-forming and plasticity. More specifically, he has devised machine-learning models capable of accurately capturing the anisotropy and strain-hardening characteristics of commercially pure titanium. These models have been successfully applied to predict plastic deformation at different temperatures and strain rates within finite element analysis (FEA) simulations.

Throughout Abrar’s research, he has used various Olson Center machinery, including the abrasive water jet, 3-axis CNC machine and 3D printers for sample preparation, as well as the MTS Universal testing machine and cruciform machine for material characterization.

Abrar is halfway through his Ph.D. research and looking forward to continuing his work with titanium. He explained that the end goal of his work is to locally alter the mechanical properties of pure titanium and form medical implants using incremental forming.

While Abrar’s research at the Olson Center has been a prominent part of his time in New Hampshire, he also explained how he has enjoyed the different lifestyle, culture, cuisine, and landscape New Hampshire has to offer. One of Abrar’s favorite hobbies has been hiking and exploring the state’s many waterfalls.

Written by Jesse Davis, Class of 2025

Photo by UNH Photographer Jeremy Gasowski

Senior Kali Couronis is a communications intern at UNH's Olson Center and has a significant presence behind its website and social media platforms. Kali has led a wide range of projects, from creating social media content to editing videos and pictures to, most recently, updating the Olson Center's website homepage and capabilities tab.

The website was one of two large projects that Kali took on this past summer; the other was making a virtual 360 tour of the center's high bay and lab spaces. For the homepage, Kali took up the technical and creative aspects of the redesign. After completing her Drupal training (the software used to create the Olson Center's website), Kali scrutinized other UNH websites, noting their layout and design. Her process included singling out successful and unsuccessful features.

Kali then styled the center's content in an organized and cohesive design. Her biggest challenge was incorporating elements to make the website ADA-compliant. Some examples of her work include adding ALT text to images, creating enough visual contrast between text and background, and adding video subtitles. Kali is proud of what she has done with the website this summer, both in its functionality and ability to spearhead the project and have freedom in her decision-making process.

Kali found that the Olson Center has allowed her to interact with people in a field contrasting to her own, which she finds to be a very beneficial experience. When discussing her favorite part of interning at the Olson Center, Kali said, "Everyone at the Olson Center wants you to succeed and receive recognition for all the hard work you do for engineering and communications interns."

Kali has a busy school year ahead. While continuing work on the Olson Center's 360 tours, Kali will also work with Academic Technology at the Diamond Library and join the communication department's Comm-Entary (unh.edu) team in the fall as an editor.

Written by Katelyn Clark '24

Meet Katelyn Clark, a senior at UNH and Olson Center communications intern. Katelyn is an instrumental part of the team that creates the Olson Center’s media presence. As an intern, she gets hands-on work experience. This has helped her to discover more about her educational goals and future career.

Katelyn’s role is to create content for the center by interviewing people, writing articles, and creating media posts. One of Katelyn’s most memorable projects was rewriting the Capabilities tab on the Olson Center website. This consisted of gathering information about the center’s machinery by reading materials and interviewing the center’s Director, John Roth. Another project Katelyn enjoyed working on is an article about UNH adjunct faculty member Dr. Ben Mitchell. She interviewed Dr. Mitchell in-depth about his research for this piece.

Throughout Katelyn’s time at the Olson Center, she has gained the confidence and skills to interview interns and colleagues. Interviewing was not always a skill she felt comfortable with. The Olson Center has helped her step out of her comfort zone and communicate professionally with new people. When asked about her favorite part on being an Olson Center intern, Katelyn said,

“I love connecting with the other interns and writing about the important work they are doing.”

Outside of Katelyn’s work at the center, she has contributed to the on-campus magazine Main Street Magazine. Each semester a new issue and theme of the magazine is released. Katelyn wrote a piece called “Through the Gates of the Underground,” published in this past spring semester issue. Katelyn’s other hobbies include reading, writing, and painting.

After she graduates, Katelyn hopes to travel abroad to Europe and Asia. Hoping to one day receive a Master's degree, she is determined to let her passion for writing guide her plans post-grad.

Written by, Jesse Davis

A junior at Boston University and Olson Center engineering intern, Hannah Rubine spent her summer at UNH. Starting in May 2023, Hannah worked on several projects requiring new skill sets and on-the-job problem-solving. Her favorite project was creating a custom rain sampler for a UNH graduate student leaving for field research abroad.

This project presented a learning curve for Hannah as some of the machines and processes were new to her. Hannah had to work on completing the project while also learning to use the CAD/CAM software program Fusion 360, milling machines, and a water jet cutter. Provided with the graduate students' designs, Hannah made 3D models and toolpaths for the nine primary components of the rain sampler with Fusion 360. She then made the parts using CNC milling, 3D printing, and waterjet cutting.

The biggest challenge presented in this project was making the upper motor housing unit for the rain sampler. It was a hollow, thin-walled part that would get crushed during assembly. To solve this problem, Hannah decided to 3D print a custom-fit mold reinforcing the upper unit and preventing it from bending when cut. The project taught her valuable problem-solving and project management skills, as this was an individual assignment.

The skills Hannah learned this summer will benefit her moving forward in her academic and professional career. This fall, Hannah begins the second half of her undergraduate program at BU. After graduation, she plans to work in aerospace.

Written by Katelyn Clark '24

The Olson Centers' advanced technology and engineering capabilities enable collaborations with organizations such as Northeast Passage to help contribute to their mission of developing recreation tools and designs for individuals with disabilities.

College freshman and mechanical engineering intern Jackie O'Donnell is working on a bike pedal brace for Northeast Passage. As part of a group project, Jackie works with fellow interns Jasmine Winham and project lead Gracie Schmidt. Tye Thompson from Northeast Passage, who has expertise in design accessibility, advises the group on each iteration.

The goal of this project is to build a brace for those struggling with leg mobility, for example, stroke victims. This brace will go on any recumbent bike, allowing users to pedal and exercise. Jackie has utilized the center's waterjet machine to cut the base plate of the brace and the 3D printers to print the calf, heel braces, and accessory parts.

Jackie became an Olson Center intern after taking a tour and learning about the machinery at the center. Since then, she has been a key contributor to the project with Northeast Passage. When asked about her favorite part of working at the center, Jackie explained, "My favorite thing has been the atmosphere and how willing everyone is to help and teach. I have learned so much this summer because of how great everyone here is."

Jackie is attending Worcester Polytechnic Institute this Fall, majoring in Biomedical Engineering. She will also continue to be involved in the External Advisory Committee for NH CREATES the Future as a former UNH Tech Camp perspective.

Written by Jesse Davis, JMU, '25

 

 

Jesse Davis, Communications major at James Madison University, and a dedicated Olson Center Intern has blossomed during her time at the center. As a communications intern Jesse creates specialized content for the center's social media as well as writes spotlights about various students and industry projects. From undergraduate to graduate students and Ph.D. candidates Jesse has a unique insight into writing about STEM at an R1 University. In addition to writing Jesse also works on the redesign of the center’s various website pages. 

Most recently Jesse has been working at UNH’s Tech Camp which is a three-week program offered through the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. The camp hosts middle and high school students and explores different STEM subject areas. She works with Tech Camp director, Carmela Amato-Wierda, to take photos and assist with the weekly newsletter. She feels this experience is expanding her knowledge of photography, while also enabling her to branch out and write for a different area of UNH CEPS.  

Jesse says that the Olson center made an impactful difference on the trajectory of her future. She states that the environment at the center has helped her with taking accountability as well as her own time management skills. These experiences give her the confidence to achieve her future goals. 

Written by Katelyn Clark, '24

Graduate student, Shayan Darzi is working on the simultaneous tension and compression tester. He is running a combined loading material test with compression applied perpendicular to tension on the material.  

Written by & Photos by Charles Jones, '26

Congratulations to graduating senior and head intern, Max Carpenter! Max is from Durham, NH and has been working at the olson center since his freshman year. One of the reasons he chose UNH was because of the opportunities the university offers for personal and professional advancement which led him to the Olson Center. Max is a Mechanical Engineering major and has worked on many projects at the Olson Center over his college career.

One of his favorite projects was working with NH BioMade to scan a model human skull. From that scan he used the incremental forming machine to create a replacement section that was customized to the shape of that skull out of sheet metal. “I think this project was a great example of working alongside industry while using the variety of machines at the Olson Center’s disposal.” After graduation, Max is going to be working at Ayer Electric as an Estimator on solar and electrical contracting jobs. He is looking forward to moving into a new chapter of his professional career. We have enjoyed having Max as a part of our team! 

Written by Lauren Dupuis, '25  

Congratulations to Ali Al Jeward, who graduated from UNH at the end of Fall 2022! He worked at the John Olson Center throughout his college career. Ali completed his master's degree in mechanical engineering. He is pursuing a career in the aerospace industry where he can utilize the knowledge and skills that he gained while at UNH. He is passionate about the cutting-edge technologies and innovations that are driving the industry forward. He is particularly interested in working with organizations that are exploring novel technologies that will have a positive impact on society.

One of his most memorable projects working at the Olson Center was the 'Acoustic Emission (AE) Monitoring for Necking in Sheet Metal Forming'. This project allowed him to gain valuable knowledge and experience in monitoring sheet metal forming using acoustic emissions. Another project he worked on was 'Evaluating Lunar Regolith Effects on Sand Casted Material Properties.' This project let him explore the effects of lunar regolith on the material properties of sand-casted materials, allowing him to apply knowledge in materials science and engineering to a unique and exciting research area. His time at the John Olson Center provided him with valuable hands-on experience that he will be taking with him throughout his professional career.

Written by Lauren Dupuis, '25

Luke is from Berwick, ME, and has been a scholar at the center throughout his college career. One of the reasons he chose UNH was because of the variety of engineering opportunities, which led him to the John Olson Center. He was drawn to the center because he felt that not many other universities give their students opportunities to have access to such an advanced manufacturing facility. As a mechanical engineering major, he has spent his time at the center gaining hands-on experience and learning with the other interns. Luke enjoyed fixing the various machines that the center has like our 3D printers and the water jet. In 2022, he worked on the design of a thermal actuator that would be used on satellites that launched into the upper atmosphere. He plans to work in product development or engineering sales after graduating this May. The Olson Center wishes Luke the best of luck with his engineering career! 

Written by Lauren Dupuis, '25

The Olson Center’s innovative technology and machinery create a space where students can immerse themselves in research opportunities and take their findings to new heights like UNH student Matt Eaton did for his senior capstone project.

Matt spent time at the Olson Center under the mentorship of professor Jinjin Ha who provided him with expertise and insight into his designs and research. Matt’s use of the center’s materials and technology enabled him to conduct a concise and in-depth exploration in the Development of In-Plane Torsion Testing Fixture and Experiment for Sheet Metal which he presented at UNH’s Undergraduate Research Conference. He was awarded first place in the mechanical engineering research category. 

Matt worked on designing a fixture and specimen for measuring shear deformation in sheet metal discs loaded in torsion. He used the Olson Center’s 3D printer to print test parts and the waterjet machine to cut specimens. Matt performed finite element studies on various specimen geometries to determine a specimen and clamping mechanism that would work best for a wide range of materials to be tested. Once his design was finalized, he analyzed the results of the finite element studies to determine how different methods of calculating shear strain would deviate from the expected material properties.

The fixture Matt designed is almost complete. He will begin the physical testing using Professor Ha's MTS machine at the Olson Center this summer. 

The Center would like to congratulate Matt Eaton for his hard work and dedication to his research.

 

Written by Jesse Davis, '25 

Photo by Jeremy Gasowski

Gracie Schmidt, one of the center’s interns, currently attends 10th grade at Dover High School.  While juggling her academic honors coursework and the center’s internship, Gracie also manages to find the time to co-captain two high school sports teams, participate in marching and concert band, and coach the elementary school flag rugby team, while also participate in numerous other school and community service activities and events. 

Gracie began working at the Olson Center in August 2022 and has been engaged on various industrial projects involving 3D printing, CNC machining, and numerous other advanced manufacturing technologies.  Gracie currently leads on a project team that has developed an exercise bike pedal adapter system that allows individuals who experience a disability that limits the muscle control of their foot or leg to safely use the exercise bicycles at most gyms.  

In this photo, Gracie is seen within the center’s manual machining area where she has been cutting a piece of stock needed for one of her projects.  We are very proud of Gracie and all of our amazing high school interns!

Written by John Roth. 

Photos by Lauren Dupuis, '25

The Olson Center is fostering collaborative work across Universities. Desmond Mensah, a graduate research assistant is utilizing the Olson Center’s ability to work with researchers from other schools. He’s collaborating with 2 other students, Elizabeth Mamros, a graduate student at UNH, and Lenard Polec, a senior at the Technical University in Dortmund, Germany on an experimental study of the effects of temperature, strain level, and continuous bending under tension. Additionally, using Abaqus software, he is working on several experiments regarding CBT (Continuous Bending under Tension) with researchers at BYU. 

Written by Lauren Dupuis, '25

Meet Douglas Coulter, a rising UNH sophomore and mechanical engineering intern at the Olson Center.

Over the past semester, Douglas has cultivated skills within the realms of software, mechanical, and electrical engineering while working on Dr. Benjamin Mitchell’s water droplet CNC machine project. This project boasts a new manufacturing process that uses a series of horizontally orientated high-velocity water droplets to erode metal sheets that can cut out intricate designs. Douglas has become well-versed in the process of how CNC machines operate and has also been able to gain experience with the center’s 3D printers.

When asked about the non-technical skills Douglas has gained since working at the center, he explained that his experience as an intern has led him to foster strong self-management and accountability skills. He described the "management style at the Olson Center nurtures a strong sense of responsibility and has pushed me to approach my work with an attitude of eagerness and exploratory passion.”

Written by Jesse Davis

Photo by UNH Photographer Jeremy Gasowski

The Olson Center provides students with the opportunity to immerse themselves in research and play leading roles in projects that take their skills and knowledge to new levels. UNH mechanical engineering student, Nick Pitkin has been conducting research at the center since the fall of 2022. This summer, Nick began the UNH accelerated master’s program. He is advised by faculty member, Professor Marko Knezeric.     

Nick conducts his work with machines on the research manufacturing floor. Testing metals like titanium is one way Nick takes advantage of the Olson Center’s hands-on environment. His most recent project has been testing Grade 4 CP titanium in a process known as cyclic bending under tension using the CBT machine. The center’s CBT machine allows him to study how metals behave when subjected to simultaneous bending and tension. By studying the bending and tension of the metal, he can determine how far the metal will stretch before it breaks. Nick’s findings will help companies like Boeing, a manufacturer interested in manipulating metals, to create its products.

Nick is performing plane strain experiments using plane strain specimens. These specimens are large and require a greater amount of force than the typical samples used on the CBT. Therefore, Nick had to troubleshoot his approach to the testing and analysis.

Nick’s current plan is to complete his master’s, and then continue in the manufacturing industry before potentially starting his own company. The Olson Center would like to congratulate Nick on his accomplishments and wish him luck in achieving his master’s!

Written by Jesse Davis

Photo by UNH Photographer Jeremy Gasowski

Rising Junior, Sarah Souliere, is a standout amongst the crowd as a UNH mechanical engineering student and lead Olson Center intern. With a positive outlook and an inquisitive mind, Sarah has a bright future in all she sets out to accomplish. 

Sarah works closely with the Olson Center’s 3D printers as she finds it to be a great introduction to additive manufacturing and a look into the depths of 3D printer capabilities. 

When asked about her favorite projects, Sarah had a long list of examples. Two of these standout projects are working on the 3D printing of a Satellite and scanning a Canoe head. Sarah’s dream project for the center will relate to material testing, followed by thermo-dynamics. This is the research she hopes to complete in her final two years at UNH. 

For now, Sarah is taking a gap year to complete her basic training for the Air Force, where she hopes to further her mechanical engineering knowledge and experience. She attributes much of her growth to the Olson Center. Managing her time, taking responsibility, and having others rely on her have helped prepare her for the professional world. 

When asked what she would say to people thinking about joining the Olson Center’s team, she said this, “If you want to experience, even though you are outside your comfort zone, do it! You can come here and make it your own; you might as well join and love it just like us.” 

Written by Katelyn Clark '24

Louis Gitelman, a UNH student, is working on testing a variety of fiberglass to determine their strength and bending modulus when being exposed to ocean environments! He is hoping to find a suitable material for ocean mooring lines. Especially ones that won't entangle a North Atlantic Right Whale, which is one of the most endangered whale species!

Written by Lauren Dupuis, '25

2022

In the city of Dortmund, Germany is the Institute of Forming Technology and Light Weight Components (IUL). The IUL is equipped with groundbreaking forming technologies, distinguished expertise, and advanced machinery.
       The Olson Center is excited to announce our collaboration with the Institute of Forming Technology and Lightweight Components of the Technical University in Dortmund Germany. Elizabeth Mamros, an Olson Center graduate student, and Lenard Polec, a German Bachelor’s student each had the opportunity to conduct research abroad at each other’s universities.
       This collaboration began with a thirteen-month research study during Mamros doctoral studies after receiving IIE Graduate International Research Experiences and Fulbright Fellowships. During her time at the IUL, Mamros worked with novel incremental forming technologies to control the final part properties using stress superposition. The advanced equipment and expertise offered at the IUL laboratory gave Mamros the tools she needed to conduct her dissertation research.
       Mamros successfully conducted her research abroad and had the opportunity to experience multicultural settings while solo traveling through eleven different European countries and various German manufacturing facilities.
       Following Mamros' research stay in Germany, Lenard Polec, a German Bachelor's student came to the Olson Center to deepen and expand his knowledge (made possible by the German Academic Exchange). Under the mentorship of Mamros, Polec had the opportunity to learn about material characterization with the “continuous bending under tension machine.” Mamros also shared her knowledge in sheet metal forming processes, especially incremental forming. The results of Polecs work will be presented and discussed in his bachelor thesis.
       Polec would like to thank Professor John Roth, Professor Jinjin Ha, Professor Brad Kinsey, and Elizabeth Mamros for this great opportunity.
       If given the opportunity, Mamros and the Olson Center urge all students to “take the leap and apply for international opportunities.” Mamros says her experience was “life-changing and completely worth it.”

Written by, Jesse Davis, Class of 2025