Major Grant Given to Computer and Electrical Engineers at MC

By Angelina Persaud, Asst. News Editor

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has given a $300,000 grant to the computer and electrical engineering department for students to participate in a global project. 

The project entails a collaboration between the University of Zaragoza in Spain and 18 undergraduate students from Manhattan College and the City University of New York at Staten Island students. The students “will be mentored by professors from the University of Zaragoza for eight weeks during the summer,” according to The total duration of the project will extend for three years. 

Following their participation in the eight week program, students will be able to collaborate on a senior capstone project to demonstrate their knowledge of connected systems on a global scale. 

The main focus of the project revolves around connected systems and ways to incorporate speech recognition into customized applications. 

Additionally, a cohort of six students is selected for pre-travel workshops and participate in follow-up projects related to connected systems after their travels, according to 

Yi Wang, Ph.D., is a principal investigator for the global project and associate professor in the electrical and computer engineering department. He also worked alongside co-PI’s Ahmed Hussein, Ph.D. and Radwa Sultan, Ph.D. 

His role consisted of overseeing volunteer activities and also connecting and communicating with other university students and faculty. 

“I will be responsible for the scientific or technical direction of the project,” Wang said. “I am responsible for the management and integrity of the design, conduct, and reporting of the research project and for managing, monitoring, and ensuring the integrity of any collaborative relationships.”

Wang also commented on the impact the project will have on students and the expectations he hopes to see them achieve. 

“We want to bring students a project that has the features of multi-culture and also interdisciplinary,” Wang said. “So the next generation of American engineers will have a global perspective on the collaboration and also gain unique hands-on educational opportunities in the field.”

He spoke about the overall impact the grant will have on the college due to the competitive nature of receiving funding from government institutions such as the National Science Foundation. 

“I feel it’s a very good opportunity for us, for our department, and then also for the college going forward. MC students will gain a global perspective on collaboration, unique hands-on educational opportunities in the field of smart and connected systems through international experience” Wang said. 

Radwa Sultan, Ph.D, also spoke of her expectations for the project and what she hopes to see accomplished through it. 

“Our main objective is to give some students in Manhattan College the chance to have the experience to work in a real life application. It will definitely give them an edge if they want to apply for a graduate school, so it will greatly affect them from different aspects” Sultan said.

She also spoke about the context of the project and how it ties into the theme of a globally connected world. 

“The idea is about smart connected homes,” Sultan said. “Currently we have the idea of a smart home that you control everything in your home remotely. That’s what we are trying to do in this research project, to make it available for all users to be able to implement that idea in their homes.”

Robert Mauro, Ph.D., chair of the department of computer and electrical engineering also shared his sentiments about the department expanding into global projects. 

“I think it’s a great opportunity for our students,” Mauro said. “The major takeaway from this project is that they will develop a respect for other people and realize there is a lot more going on in the world they don’t see when their lives are focused solely on Manhattan, New York or the tri-state area.”

He also emphasized that diversity within the department itself is a significant factor in ensuring that students have a holistic education. 

“In our own department, for example, we have such a broad diversity of people that it makes it an exciting place to be,” Mauro said. 

The overall expectation of the project points towards encouraging students to gain a global perspective of problem solving and incorporate it into their professional careers after graduation. 

Sultan credited the support of the MC community and School of Engineering for their continuous support on the project. 

“I think we should definitely recognize the support of Manhattan College in this application process. We have their support and also the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. We hope that this will be just the beginning,” Sultan said.