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First-ever Lawrence Tech Science and Industry Fair links students, future employers

Release Date: April 6, 2017

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SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – More than 40 Lawrence Technological University students showed off their research expertise to more than 40 area employers Wednesday at the university’s inaugural Science and Industry Fair, organized by the LTU Office of Career Services and its Marburger STEM Center, as well as Oakland County’s Medical Main Street biotech economic development program.

The fair focused on the university’s unique blend of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) talent, including students from biomedical engineering, molecular and cell biology, and computer science.

Gerald W. Budd, president of Livonia-based Phoenix Imaging Inc., said the event was worthwhile for him.

“I met one young woman showing a project on tomato disease,” said Budd, whose company sells machine vision inspection equipment and pharmaceutical testing gear. “I’m not interested in tomato disease, but I did tell her she’s doing microscopy and has the ability to do very meticulous work, and that I am interested in.”

Budd said he also attended the fair looking for computer science students – and they were there as well. Like George Terrell, a sophomore computer science major from Southfield, who was showing a project analyzing the lyrics of Beatles songs written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, to see if the words both men favored could determine which of them really wrote a particular song.

“I got a bunch of business cards, so it was a good day,” Terrell said.

Christina Diez, meanwhile, a molecular and cell biology senior from Shelby Township, showed off her project to analyze two genes to identify differences in individual tolerances of the painkiller codeine and the blood thinner Warfarin. She said she talked to several potential employers as well.

“It was a good turnout,” said Gerald LeCarpentier, chairman of LTU’s Department of Biomedical Engineering. “People from all over were talking to our BME folks and the life sciences folks. And we had some very good hands-on displays.”

In one display, senior BME major Aimee Tomlinson showed off her development of a device to tell EMTs or others performing CPR how much pressure to put on a person’s chest – not too little, which won’t get oxygen into the lungs, and not too much, which can break a rib.

Sibrina Collins, director of LTU’s Marburger STEM Center, said she hopes the event grows further in future years.

“The LTU students are really doing awesome research,” Collins said. “This Science and Technology Showcase clearly demonstrates our university motto, ‘Theory and Practice.’ This was a great collaboration with the Marburger STEM Center, Career Services and Medical Main Street to provide an informal setting for our science and biomedical engineering students to make key connections with employers. We absolutely plan to make this an annual event and draw more LTU students and industry partners.”

More Lawrence Tech research expertise will be on full display Friday, April 7, LTU’s annual Research Day, where more than 100 student and faculty research projects will be showcased in an event running from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.