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December 16, 2020

SVSU Braun Fellowship powers research projects for faculty

Empowered by grant funding, two Saginaw Valley State University educators will pursue research projects aimed at advancing technology that impacts both the teaching and transportation industries. 
 
Each year, two Saginaw Valley State University faculty members receive the SVSU Braun Fellowship to develop their research and support scholarly pursuits that benefit communities across the globe. This year, Aneesha Gogineni, assistant professor of mechanical engineering; and Sandun Kuruppu, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, received these grants to help further their respective research projects. 
 
Gogineni plans to explore using virtual reality (VR) to teach engineering while Kuruppu expects to develop a system that performs efficient diagnosis of electric machine-based energy conversion in machines such as electric vehicle engines and steering systems. 
 
The Braun Fellowship program awards $37,500 over three years in funding for a research project for each recipient; support that includes funding for research tools, expenses, equipment, and travel. 
 
Gogineni’s research will involve comparing the effectiveness of VR in the classroom to teach engineering with face-to-face instruction and online lectures. Using VR will allow students to feel like they are able to participate more hands-on while still learning online during the COVID-19 pandemic, she said. 
 
"My few years of online teaching experience, pedagogical research, and with the pandemic, I felt it is very important to take the online teaching in engineering to the next level,” Gogineni said. 
 
Educators will be able to utilize another resource to teach their students actively and keep them engaged online with new materials, a different perspective of experiments, and interactive animations. 
 
“I would like to use the Braun Fellowship fund to prepare lessons in virtual reality, implement these lessons in thermodynamics and heat transfer courses, assess student performance and compare them with traditional face-to-face lecture and online lectures,” Gogineni said. 
 
She received her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Wichita State University in 2015. 
 
She joined the SVSU faculty the following year in 2016, and since, has mentored seven students in engineering. Gogineni’s research has been accepted into several conferences and was published in the Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Medical Devices. 
 
Kuruppu’s research will be focused on creating a system that diagnoses energy conversion in electric machines, allowing users to identify inefficiencies and faults in the systems that power electric cars, electric airplanes and robots in a comprehensive manner. Kuruppu’s work will essentially result in a comprehensive fault monitoring system for electric motor drives, he said. 
 
“Based on my industry experience in the field, many aspects of our lives are becoming electric and autonomous,” he said. “But reliability of these systems needs to be improved through a more holistic means.” 
 
This will develop new knowledge in the field as well as help Kuruppu share it with students, local industry and global industry to make autonomous systems safe and reliable, he said. 
 
“Research in the field of motor drive fault diagnosis has been conducted for some time now. But the methods are quite disconnected and not robust because there are many different types of motors. Through the support of the Braun Fellowship, I plan to develop a unified fault detection strategy that can be adopted towards any motor drive system.” 
 
Kuruppu received his Ph.D. in electrical computer engineering and technology at Purdue University in 2013.