Interdisciplinary student-research wins first place

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Lewis University interdisciplinary student-research wins first place

Published: December 11, 2013.

Lewis University student-research, “Flight Deck Laser Illumination: A Study of the Hazardous Effects” won first place in the Graduate Student Poster Session category at the University Aviation Association Fall Education Conference recently held in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The study which the poster represented, determined empirical evidence of laser intensity in the flight deck and the potential for harm to the human eye at various distances. Results revealed that relatively low-powered lasers had measured intensity levels through cockpit windshields at the 200 and 500 feet distances that may cause damage to crewmembers’ eyes according to standards established by the federal government. At longer distances of 1,000, 1,500 and 2,000 feet, these same lasers did not reveal measured intensities at levels to cause damage to crewmembers’ eyes; however, they were considered as having potentially distracting visual effects in flight that were further categorized as temporary flash blindness, glare or disruption and distraction or startle.

The authors of the poster included Jennifer Pfeifer ('12 Master of Science in Aviation Transportation), Elizabeth De Waard (’13 Bachelor of Science in Physics) Richard Antoniolli ('13 MSAT) and Jacob Luedtke (MSAT). The faculty advisors included Dr. Randy DeMik (Aviation), Dr. Stanley Harriman (Aviation), Dr. Ryan Phillips (Aviation), and Dr. Chuck Crowder (Physics). The students competed against other graduate student posters submitted from Purdue University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and Middle Tennessee State University.

The poster’s success hinged heavily on the work and efforts of fellow researchers Michael Streit (Biochemistry), Ernest Knight (Physics), Shane McHugh (‘12MSAT), Steven Foster (’12 MSAT), and David York (’12 MSAT) who were instrumental during the project trials. Additionally, the same project title in a presentation format also earned first place at the Fourth Graduate Students Aviation Research Symposium hosted by Purdue University Aviation Graduate Council earlier in the year.

Phase II of this study is also underway at Lewis University in another collaborative effort between Chemistry, Physics and Aviation. Researchers on this phase of the study consist of Hubert Bilan (Chemical Physics), Zachary Widel (Chemical Physics), Matt Moy (Physics), Joseph Burlas (MSAT), Stephen Emmert (MSAT), Jacob Luedtke (MSAT), Dr. Jason Keleher (Chemistry), Dr. Chuck Crowder (Physics), Dr. Ryan Phillips (Aviation), Dr. Randy DeMik (Aviation), and Dr. Stanley Harriman (Aviation).

Other presentations from Lewis University professors at the 2013 UAA Conference in Puerto Rico included “Bioavailable Lead in Topsoil Collected from General Aviation Airports” by Dr. Jerry Kavouras (Biology) and Dr. Randy DeMik (Aviation). “Leadership Effectiveness of Collegiate Aviation Program Leaders: A Four-Frame Analysis” was presented by Dr. Ryan Phillips (Aviation).

Phases I and II of the laser research and the Bioavailable lead in topsoil study were sponsored in part, by a grant from the Doherty Center for Aviation and Health Research.

Since 1932, Lewis University has led the field of aviation education by preparing students from around the world to succeed in the aviation industries. An on-site airport, experienced and industry-leading faculty, personalized learning, degree programs that provide you with specialized experience and a well-rounded business, management and liberal arts education have made Lewis University’s aviation program one of the most respected in the country. Lewis University offers a master’s degree in aviation and transportation as well as bachelor’s degrees in aviation flight management, aviation administration, aviation maintenance management, air traffic control management, aviation security and transportation administration.

Lewis University also offers degree programs in Chemistry, Chemical Physics and Physics. Faculty specialize in providing diverse undergraduate research opportunities that take advantage of interdepartmental collaborations while also conducting research in a variety of areas related to nanotechnology and materials science.

Lewis University is a Catholic university in the Lasallian tradition offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 6,600 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The seventh largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. Visit for further information.

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