SSC-Natick Press ReleaseU.S. Army Soldier Systems
Public Affairs Office
Contact: Public Affairs Office
Date: August 13, 2007
Students Strut their stuff
||U.S. Army Natick
Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center student
hire, Matthew Hauck, discusses his project with Soldier Systems
Center employees at the Future Workforce Poster Presentation
Event held on Aug. 7. (Photo by Anita Tobin.)
Click for Larger Photo
On Aug. 7, student hires from the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research,
Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) got an opportunity to
showcase the work they have been doing during the first annual
Future Workforce Poster Presentation Event.
“This event evolved from a suggestion from Dr. Ramanathan Nagarajan
[from NSRDEC] who asked if we do anything like this [the poster
presentation],” said Joelle Haskell of NSRDEC’s Workforce
Development Team. “We were looking at different approaches and
activities in support of a long-term mentoring program and his
suggestion worked in perfectly. We thought it would be good for
student enrichment as well.”
The Workforce Development Team began working on the poster event and
was amazed at the reply.
“We thought we would maybe have 5-10 presentations,” she said, “but
we have 28 students [exhibiting].”
Adrienne Beaudoin, from the Workforce Development Team, and a
student herself at the University of Maryland, said, “This event
allows students to showcase their work, and in this way Natick
employees have an opportunity to discover what type of work the
students are completing in such a short amount of time.” She
continued by saying that some students are doing technical work,
while others are more focused on the business aspect.
Aisha Bobb-Semple, a student at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, who is working her first summer at the NSRDEC, has been
working on non-mechanical closures.
“I’m looking at a system to try to replace Velcro,” she said. She
has been working with polyelectrolyte multilayers and although her
preliminary results are not quite where she needs them to be,
Bobb-Semple is not giving up. “I still haven’t exhausted all
possibilities; it’s still a work in progress.”
University of Massachusetts – Lowell students Matthew Bernasconi and
Scott Winroth are working on reducing the environmental waste of
Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) packaging. Their presentation was titled,
Optimizing Seal Strength Integrity of Nanocomposite MRE Meal Bags.
There are two different ways they are looking at, said Winroth. The
first method is down-gauging the material from thick to thin and the
second is using nanoclay. “We’ve found nanoclay can improve barrier
properties,” he said, “and this lets you down-gauge the interior
packaging because the outer shell is now more resistant to oxygen
They evaluated five different materials and found that the straight
nanoclay and plastic doesn’t seal as well as is needed.
“We found that a sandwiched layer is what is needed for a good
sealing benefit,” said Bernasconi. “The multilayer performed
Other projects in the combat feeding area on display included
Sensory Lab Procedures, Monographs, Common Food Management System,
Office of the Director, Enzymes in Lettuce and Tomatoes, and Combat
Rations: From Bench Top to Field Test.
The Shelters Technology, Engineering and Fabrication Directorate had
a display showing their efforts and one on Human Remain Transfer
Case Testing, while the Business and Operations Directorate had a
presentation on their Peer Mentoring Program and one on the new
Corporate Account Management System.
A display on the Aerial Delivery Engineering Support Team was
presented by the Warfighter Protection and Aerial Delivery
Directorate (WarPADD) and the Warfighter Science, Technology and
Applied Research Directorate (WarSTAR) had a multitude of displays.
WarSTAR projects showcased were Ionic Interactions of Glass Fiber
Filters and Cecropin P1 as an Antimicrobial Coating, Camouflage
Design and Development, Ultrathin Block Copolymer Films for
Chemical Vapor Detection, Adhesive Strength of Polyelectrolyte
Multilayers for Use in Non-Mechanical Closures, Attachment of
Aminoalkyltrimethoxysilanes to Fabric to
Enhance Spore Deactivation, Reactivity Testing of Detoxifying
Materials for Chemically Protective Clothing, Advanced Combat
Materials and Application Development, and the Use of Surfactants to
Form Thermodynamically Stable Dispersions of Carbon Nanotubes in
Dan Carney, who is a chemistry major at Worcester Polytechnic
Institute, is spending his third summer working at Natick. He has
been working on detoxifying materials for chemically protective
clothing. We get to show how effective the technology is, he said.
University of Connecticut student John Eicher sees how his work
applies to the field. “The work we’re doing attaching
aminoalkyltrimethoxysilanes to fabric helps in spore killing,” he
said. This helps protect Soldiers from chemical/biological threats,
“I’m excited we had such a good turnout [of attendees],” said
Employees visiting the displays seemed impressed with the
presentations and the students seemed excited to share their work.
Bobb-Semple said she’s enjoying working at Natick a lot.