Yale college

School Notes: Yale College
January/February 2008

Undergraduate engineers design, build, and race a speedy hybrid

"I haven't had this much fun since integration of the first Segway prototypes," says Professor John Morrell ’86, who advised a group of Yale undergraduates on the development of a Formula Hybrid car that won third place at the New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire, last May. The three-day Formula Hybrid competition at Loudon's speedway -- including acceleration tests, an obstacle-avoiding autocross, and an endurance run -- is the latest iteration of the 25-year-old Formula SAE program run by the Society of Automotive Engineers. Working within a set of rules governing size and budget constraints, teams of undergraduates from colleges around the world build and race miniature Indy cars. For the Formula SAE competition, vehicles use an internal combustion engine. The Formula Hybrid project emphasizes drive-train innovation and fuel efficiency in the open-wheel, single-seat racecar designs.

Organizers of the event were impressed that Yale students entered the hybrid competition, instead of the internal-combustion Formula competition, in their first year taking part in the contest. "The vehicle that earned third place had a dune-buggy chassis, and only the team's superior propulsion engineering saved the day," reports Morrell.Undaunted, the Yale students involved in the project are now working to find sponsors so they can design a better chassis this year. A group of students in the ME senior project design class is designing a new chassis to improve the handling of the car and optimize the layout of the propulsion system. The design changes should make them a contender for honors again this year.

New director at Yale Center for Language Study

Nelleke Van Deusen-Scholl arrived in November to take the helm of the Center for Language Study (CLS) at Yale. Van Deusen-Scholl came to Yale from the University of Pennsylvania, where she was director of the Penn Language Center in the School of Arts and Sciences and adjunct associate professor in the Graduate School of Education. Van Deusen-Scholl, who holds a PhD in linguistics from the University of Florida, focuses her research on sociolinguistics and foreign language education.

More than 50 languages are taught at Yale, and the CLS provides coordination and support for these courses. Through the CLS's Directed Independent Language Study program, more than 40 additional languages are taught to students requiring specialized language study to continue with research and academic pursuits. Support provided by the CLS includes technological services and guidance, workshops and seminars for language teachers, independent study opportunities, and language tutoring resources. Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said, "The report of the Committee on Yale College Education made clear that learning languages, and learning multiple languages, is and will continue to be a priority for undergraduates at Yale. As we have implemented the recommendations of that report, the CLS has been an incredible asset. I know that with Nelleke's arrival at Yale, we can look forward to continuing progress in educating students who are fluent in multiple languages and cultures."

Students prepare for global health research

The Yale College Fellowship for International Research in the Sciences and Health Studies program provides support for original undergraduate research projects abroad in the natural and applied sciences and in health studies, including public health. The office of International Education and Fellowship Programs is collaborating with the Yale College Health Studies Initiative to again offer a workshop to enhance the academic experience of Yale College sophomores and juniors who plan to conduct an international health-related research project during the summer or a semester abroad. Professor Kaveh Khoshnood of the Yale School of Public Health, who launched the workshop last year, helps students to develop their ideas for research into proposals to be submitted for funding. Professor Khoshnood works with students to explore the cultural, political, and social complexities of conducting research in low-resource countries and take steps in the development of a scientific, ethical, and feasible research project.

Among students who took the workshop last year was Christine Nguyen ’09, who studied the interplay between HIV/AIDS and sex trafficking in Vietnam. She plans to become a physician, and she says her summer research provided an "eye-opening perspective, which has enriched my cultural awareness, and will help me make better decisions in life and in my career as a physician and promoter of public health." Alexander Harding ’09 worked in the town of Muisne, Ecuador, where, the summer before, he had worked in the hospital. When Harding returned, this time it was to address problems with Muisne's drinking water. He says, "The time I had spent in Muisne's hospital [in 2006] had inspired me to become a doctor because I saw how desperately some people need medical care. But it was constructing a water treatment system in Muisne [in 2007] that showed me what I could do to improve people's health on a large scale. Doctors are essential to Muisne, but their work would be enormously more beneficial if it were merged with public health efforts." Harding will continue his education by pursuing degrees in both public health and medicine.

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