Engineering Students Awarded $5,000 Each by NASA

Submitted by on March 2, 2012


Rafique Vahora (L) and Brendan Peters

Innovative is a way to describe School of Engineering students Rafique Vahora ’13 and Brendan Peters ’14, each recently awarded $5,000 scholarships by NASA’s Connecticut Space Grant College Consortium.  The money will go toward the two students’ research projects begun this semester.

Through the University of Hartford, a NASA affiliated University, Fairfield was given the opportunity to choose which students would receive the award. Based on their research proposals, Vahora and Peters, both enrolled in the electrical engineering program, were selected out of a group of applicants.

Vahora’s project focuses on measuring the bone density of astronauts, with the goal of eventually developing a portable bone density device that can be worn on the wrist. Loss of bone density can become a serious problem in zero gravity conditions even after a short period of time; with this device, astronauts will be made aware of when they need to replenish calcium. This device is also likely to be useful to the general population for those who have or are at risk for osteoporosis.

Dr. Ryan A. Munden, assistant professor of electrical engineering, says Vahora is “an excellent student in my circuits class, and his background in biology will be vital to his research in healthcare.” Vahora started his undergraduate career with a major in biology before becoming interested in the field of bioengineering. Dr. Munden serves as Vahora’s faculty mentor on his upcoming project.

Peters, like Vahora, is conducting his research in the area of healthcare. Peters’ project addresses atmospheric pressure on fluid pressure in the eye. Says Peters: “Engineering is like solving puzzles, and I wanted a major where I could help people.” Dr. Michael P. Zabinski will serve as Peters’ faculty mentor.

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