Over the past weekend, I assisted my professor with a group of high school students who came to Union to visit a real research laboratory. Before we even began to explain our research on chick embryo heart development, my professor took the opportunity to clearly describe the field of engineering. He explained that engineering isn’t about building things; it is a field dedicated to design. Engineers combine knowledge of physics, stress and strain, and material properties to design a variety of systems. Once he laid the foundation, we explained our specific research which is a branch of biomedical engineering. It was inspiring to see the students get excited about our research and about the field of engineering itself. Only a few years ago, I was just like them. Now I’m answering questions as if I am an expert myself.
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Xavier Capaldi comes from a homestead in Northern Vermont where his family raises sheep, chickens, and rabbits. Xavier was homeschooled his entire life before college. He is majoring in physics and minoring in nanotechnology and math. At Union, Xavier is the social host of the Beuth Council. He is also the captain and president of the rugby team and is a tutor in the Physics Help Center. Xavier has participated in a variety of research projects including: the study of embryonic heart development, analysis of gas released during coffee bean roasting, the development of a vanadium catalyst to neutralize chemical warfare agents on fabric, and study of the crystallization of polyethylene oxide.