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Austin Peay’s ‘Innovation Experience’ to showcase STEM student work to industry partners


(Posted on Thursday, April 14, 2022)

The College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at Austin Peay State University will host an event on April 22 to showcase student work to area industrial partners.

The event – called The Innovation Experience – will include 16 exhibitions featuring student capstone projects that highlight their work solving real-world problems, such as helping senior citizens sort pills or improving tire manufacturing.

“The Innovation Experience allows our students to present the hard work that they’ve done with industry partners on real-world applications,” said Dr. Karen Meisch, dean of the College of STEM. “We’d love our industry partners to see what our students can do.”

Industry partners and representatives from the Clarksville-Montgomery County Industrial Development Board and the Clarksville-Montgomery Economic Development Council will be among those attending. After the student exhibitions, the event will culminate with an awards reception, including announcing the inaugural Innovation Experience Business Collaborator Award winner: Florim USA, Inc.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the efforts of some of our most inventive students during this event,” APSU President Mike Licari said. “Their proposals are sure to be both impressive and inspiring, and we appreciate these community organizations for their participation. This experience will be rewarding for both our future graduates and local industry professionals.”

Showing off student work

Dr. Russ Longhurst, professor in the Department of Physics, Engineering and Astronomy, said The Innovation Experience gives the students a chance to show off their work outside the classroom while allowing them to network with regional employers.

“To complete these projects, students have applied knowledge they have learned as well as the skills and talents they have developed during their time at Austin Peay,” he said. “The students have immersed themselves in these projects and are very proud of their work.”

Students from four departments – Computer Science and Information Technology; Mathematics and Statistics; Engineering Technology; and Physics, Engineering and Astronomy – in the College of STEM will present at The Innovation Experience.

In one project, an automotive parts manufacturing company, Aludyne, asked Longhurst’s students to come up with a more efficient way to recycle scrap magnesium produced by the manufacturing process.

The students – Jack Svonovec, Lance Reist-Schneider and Caleb Wood – had to use existing equipment and reuse some of the facility’s waste energy while being safe and inexpensive.

In their presentation titled “Design of a Magnesium Recycling Process: Bypassing the Ingot,” Svonovec, Reist-Schneider and Wood will explain how by recycling scrap magnesium on-site, Aludyne could reduce logistics costs while losing less magnesium.

“We recognize the unique opportunity we have to partner with local industry to provide students with these opportunities,” Meisch said. “And we have made it a priority to increase these opportunities.”

Business Collaborator Award winner: Florim USA

The Innovation Experience Business Collaborator Award recognizes companies or professionals within the STEM field who also support the APSU College of STEM.

As part of their thriving relationship with APSU College of STEM, Florim USA, Inc. has worked collaboratively with faculty and students in real-life projects that help better prepare them to enter the workforce.

Florim also has generously provided scholarship awards in three STEM departments at Austin Peay during the past 15 years. These scholarships have propelled more than 40 students toward graduation and employment.

In December, Licari, Meisch and other Austin Peay leaders joined Florim USA’s President Antonio Albanese at the company’s Clarksville plant and discussed ways to strengthen the partnership moving forward.

“I am grateful for the support that Florim USA has provided to the university and am eager to move our partnership to the next level, including the development of internships and other ways of connecting Austin Peay students to great careers,” Licari said during the visit.

Anyone interested in working with College of STEM students can contact Meisch at meischk@apsu.edu.

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