Western Washington University Assistant Professor of Engineering and Design John Misasi and two of his students attended the Waterborne Symposium, an environmentally friendly coating technologies conference held in New Orleans, Louisiana on Feb. 24.
Lina Ghanbari of Sammamish and Levi Hamernik of Boulder, Colorado attended the 46th Annual Conference with their professor. Misasi said the conference was a great learning experience for Ghanbari and Hamernik.
“Getting to interact with graduate students and learn about their research gives students an idea of what they can continue doing if they go to grad school,” Misasi said.
Ghanbari is a senior in the Plastics and Composite Engineering program, and she won Best Student Paper for the presentation of her research titled "Influence of Continuous Reactor B-Staging on Rheological and Thermomechanical Behavior of a Benzoxazine Matrix.”
Ghanbari presented her paper to technical experts, academics, and both undergraduate and graduate students, and was praised as the best presenter at the conference.
Hamernik, a senior in the Plastics and Composite Engineering program, won second place in the student poster competition for his research titled "Development of a Benzoxazine-Based Nanocomposite Molding Compound,” and said he really enjoyed his time at the conference.
“Waterborne is unique compared to other conferences we’ve been to. It was relatively small, but more personal, and it was easier to network,” Hamernik said.
Western does not have graduate programs for engineering students, so research opportunities are more available to undergraduates. Ghanbari and Hamernik have been able to work directly with professors to further their research.
“Our professors care a lot about us getting in the lab and doing research and getting hands-on experiences. At other universities they might be more focused on their grad students,” Ghanbari said, “Because we are such an undergraduate focused program Levi and I are examples of two people who have really been able to find a passion for research.”
Ghanbari and Hamernik are both planning to attend graduate school after they finish at Western.
Misasi said he hopes to take future student researches to Waterborne.
“I think we will continue to go down to New Orleans to the conference,” Misasi said. “It is a wonderful networking opportunity, and it is always great to have undergraduates offered the chance to present their research.”