University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown

Pitt-Johnstown’s Research Symposium, SPACE, Showcases Student Work



Camden Nagg, senior computer engineering student, wondered why most cyclist deaths occurred between 6 – 9 p.m. regardless of the season. He thought why couldn’t bikes have the same signals as cars to avoid any accidents. This idea sparked the concept of his “Smart Bike” with lights that mimic an automobile which he worked on with Dr. Maddumage Karunaratne, Professor of Electrical Engineering, and presented at the Symposium for the Promotion of Academic and Creative Enquiry (SPACE).  

SPACE is Pitt-Johnstown's annual undergraduate research conference. The event provides a forum for Pitt-Johnstown students from all disciplines to present their research, creative projects, or scholarly work to the campus community. Led by Dr. Jill Henning, more than 50 projects were presented at this year’s symposium that was held online.  

Corey Stouffer, a senior mechanical engineering student, presented a Navy Nuclear Propulsion Fixture. Kylie Cameron, a nursing student, presented on Unit Based Health Study- Surgical Site Infections. Mattie Updyke, worked with Eric Schwerer, Associate Professor, on a project entitled E(e)rie Stillness. 

E(e)rie Stillness was written originally for her Introduction to Creative Writing course at the beginning of the pandemic lockdown. The poem is based on her visits to her mom's Erie apartment and her observations happening around her. She combines the confusion of the early days of the pandemic with the excitement of spring soon to come in the poem. Updyke is the winner of two Humanities Awards this 2020-2021 academic year, the Colleen M. Brown Memorial Prize in Poetry and the Louise Letizia Miele Award.  

The diversity of projects presented at SPACE is what makes this showcase of research so special. For Camden, like many other projects presented, he is solving real world problems. The lights on the bikes are voice controlled making it safer for bikers to make signals. Though some of the research presented where posters or concepts, some may come to fruition changing people’s lives or even saving someone on a bike.