On May 3rd and 4th, 2023, 24 Fowler School of Engineering (FSE) students presented extensive scientific scholarship at the Spring Scholar Symposium, a biannual event hosted and sponsored by the Center for Undergraduate Excellence (CUE). There, both undergraduate and graduate scholars shared insight into their research processes and findings within the broader Chapman community. Their poster and oral presentations showcased significant progress, passion, resilience, and ingenuity over months of dedicated work, celebrating FSE students’ impactful contributions to advanced technologies and socially-conscious innovation.

For FSE students, research presented at the Scholar Symposium is conducted between faculty experts and emerging student scholars, unifying both established and fresh perspectives under the aims of ongoing scholarship. Under the guidance of Fowler faculty, students can build confidence in a variety of widely-applicable skills.

“I am most proud of students when they start out unsure about conducting research or presenting,” stated Director of CUE Dr. Julye Bidmead, who spearheads this event every semester. “Then, they learn how to do a poster or an oral presentation, which gives them an opportunity to shine; they get to demonstrate all of their knowledge on a poster. When people come to talk to them, it is fulfilling because they realize that they are the expert when they present their research or creative activity to a broader audience.”

In photos: Tyler Woo & Dr. Nasim Estakhri

In photos: Tyler Woo & Dr. Nasim Estakhri

Tyler Woo (Electrical Engineering ‘23), one of the many FSE students who presented at the Spring Scholar Symposium, used this opportunity to showcase his extensive investigation into optimizing and designing metasurfaces. With the support of Dr. Nasim Estakhri, an Assistant Professor at FSE, Woo’s research focused on different metasurface techniques that can split or deflect photonic and radio waves. “Our research primarily involves trying to develop metasurface designs, studying optimal ways to create topology for meta surfaces. Their practical applications can include lens technology, holography, wave front shaping, quantum optics, and cloaking,” Woo explained. 

In Woo’s experience, this event furthered his communication skills, bridging the gap between conducting practical research and sharing it with the world. “The biggest challenge is the presentation element—doing any presentation is scary, but I was confident in the work my mentor and I had done together,” said Woo. “Dr. Estakhri and I established a clear way of portraying my information to a large audience without feeling nervous, so from there it just required a lot of practice. I think that has been one of the biggest achievements I’ve had: a successful presentation in front of an audience about my research.”

The Scholar Symposium also offers a valuable opportunity for many FSE students to expand upon their most unique academic endeavors, including those beyond their usual degree program foci. “My research has been interesting because I’m a Software Engineering major; nonlinear optics is a little more outside of my usual interests and experiences,” said Kyle Wynne (‘24). “It’s exciting to see how the other side lives and to start getting acclimated to what a research environment looks like.”

Wynne’s advanced scholarship explored nonlinear optics—subject matter more typically encountered at the graduate level. He presented this complex research through a 15-minute oral presentation followed by a Q&A period, discussing how the creation of new photonic computing devices could lead to easier and more effective data transmission over long distances. 

“I’m very proud of Kyle’s work and his presentation,” shared Dr. Mark Harrison, the Assistant Professor at FSE who served as Wynne’s research and symposium advisor. “Kyle has been very persistent in getting difficult experiments to work, which lead to the data he presented in the Student Scholar Symposium. In fact, he’s gotten quite good at setting up the experiment and taking data, and can do so pretty quickly at this point.” 

As a recipient of the Robert A. Day Research Grant—a prestigious award which funds faculty-mentored student research that demonstrates engineering excellence and dedication—Wynne will spend the summer continuing his outstanding research by expanding the use of nanodevices for information processing. Using parametric amplification and simulation software, he aims to design devices that can be used in a hierarchical design. 

“His work is laying an important foundation for future research in my lab, and I’m excited to continue working with him over the summer and hopefully next year as well,” said Harrison.

In photo: Dr. Trudi Qi and Meghna Raswan

In photo: Dr. Trudi Qi and Meghna Raswan

We extend our congratulations to the scholars who participated in this Spring Symposium, commending their inspiring dedication, hard work, and intellectual curiosity!


Poster Session I Scholars:

Students: Drew Bozarth, Daniel Dinh, Kai Itokazu, & Cyrus Fa’amafoe’

Faculty Advisor: Dr. LouAnne Boyd

Research: Global Filter for Semantic Saliency for Visual Attention (Study C)


In photo: Cecilia Abrahamsson, Yuki Chen, Kayla Anderson, and Dr. Franceli Cibrian

In photo: Cecilia Abrahamsson, Yuki Chen, Kayla Anderson, and Dr. Franceli Cibrian

Students: Kayla Anderson, Cecilia Abrahamsson, & Yuki Chen

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Franceli Cibrian

Research: Analysis of Speech-to-Text Algorithms in Recognizing Down Syndrome Conversations


Student: Alex Vallone

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Nasim Mohammadi Estakhri

Research: Region-Specified Machine Learning for Scattering and Absorption Engineering


Student: Michael Cheng

In photo: Arian Tajvar

In photo: Arian Tajvar

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Nasim Mohammadi Estakhri

Research: Near-Field Control with Metasurfaces


Student: Lauren Szlosek

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Ian Barnard

Research: Deepfakes: How Technology is Affecting the Porn Industry


Student: Arian Tajvar

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Andrew Lyon

Research: Quantitative Image Analysis of Bright Field Microscopy Images for Micro-Gels

Poster Session II Scholars:

In photo: Meghna Raswan, Dr. Franceli Cibrian, Ellie Nguyen, Tyler Kay, and Daisy Fernandez-Reyes

In photo: Meghna Raswan, Dr. Franceli Cibrian, Ellie Nguyen, Tyler Kay, and Daisy Fernandez-Reyes

Students: Tyler Kay, Meghna Raswan, Scot Fitzpatrick, Katie Tang, & Hector Camarillo Abad

Faculty Advisors: Dr. Franceli Cibrian & Dr. Trudi Qi

Research: VRelax: A User-Centered VR Experience for Self-Expression and Relaxation AND A Step Towards an Intelligent Human-Interactive Data Visualization in Virtual Reality


Student: Ellie Nguyen & Daisy Fernandez-Reyes

Faculty Advisors: Dr. Franceli Cibrian

Research: Designing an Elastic Display to Support Musical Interaction for Children


Student: Tyler Woo

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Nasim Mohammadi Estakhri

Research: Implementation of Metasurface Interferometers

In photo: Daisy Fernandez-Reyes

In photo: Daisy Fernandez-Reyes


Student: Sophie Pelton

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Nasim Mohammadi Estakhri

Research: Topology Optimization for Integrated Photonics

Poster Session III Scholars:

Student: David Giani

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Nasim Mohammadi Estakhri

Research: Metasurface Cloaking


Students: Joseph Ellis & Dylan McIntosh

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Trudi Qi

Research: Moving or Tossing? Can VR Tell the Difference?


Nicole Wagner and Matt Shugarte

In photo: Dr. Nicole Wagner and Matt Shugarte

Oral Presenters:

Student: Matt Shugarte

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Nicole Wagner

Research: 3D Printed Structures for Light-Weight Components


Student: Kyle Wynne

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Mark Harrison

Research: Nanophotonic Devices for Information Processing


CUE hosts their Scholar Symposium in the Fall and Spring, each with different presenters and research proposals. Students interested in getting involved with presenting at a future Scholar Symposium can get a head start by visiting the CUE’s Scholar Symposium Website for upcoming details. For further questions, please contact cue@chapman.edu.


Read all about the Spring 2023 Scholar Symposium Abstracts here.


Featured Image: Kyle Wynne

Visual aid courtesy of Adena Hamlin, Mark Harrison, and Lauren Sieberg