Engineering Speaker Series Brings Alumni Experience To Current Students

As the second marking period of the fall semester reached the midpoint, Dr. Yolanda Valencia, Ed.D, decided her students were well enough immersed in the basics to appreciate voices of experience.  Valencia joined the ND faculty in August as an instructor in the Engineering, Technology, and Design Signature Program.  She received her doctoral degree from Johns Hopkins last spring. Her specialization is Technology Integration K – 16. The November series featured Tom Komar ’17, Dave DeCaprio ’90, and Michael Quiello ’70.
 
Tom Komar ’17, graduated from Bentley University in 2020 with a degree in Marketing.  He is currently employed as a Marketing Operations Specialist at Veracode, a Massachusetts company founded in 2006 and specializing in cybersecurity.  His sideline is 3-D printing, and he promotes himself via Tic Tok as The 3-D Printing Guru.  His instructional Tic Tok videos have over 108,000 followers.  Komar presented a workshop on the use of 3-D printing technology for rapid prototyping in industries such as medical, automotive, and aerospace. 
 
Dave DeCaprio ’90, MIT ’93, is the Founder and Chief Technology Officer of ClosedLoop.ai based in Austin, Texas.  With degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, DeCaprio has over 20 years of experience transitioning advanced technology from academic research labs into successful businesses. His experience includes genome research, pharmaceutical development, health insurance, computer vision, sports analytics, speech recognition, transportation logistics, operations research, real-time collaboration, robotics, and financial markets.  DeCaprio presented a workshop on machine learning (AI) in the health field and the importance of grit and persistence to succeed.
 
With the arrival of Houston-based Avelo Airlines in New Haven, Michael Quiello, Vice President for Safety, Security, and Operational Excellence, took advantage of a recent trip to Tweed-New Haven Airport to visit ND. Quiello attended the University of New Haven (Civil Engineering – 1974) and followed that with a year at the United States Navy Flight School.  In 2007, he completed the two-year Aviation Safety and Security Certificate Program at George Washington University. Quiello captivated our young engineering students by sharing his personal story as a pilot, highlighting the qualities they should develop to be successful in any profession.
 
Dr. Valencia commented: “I am grateful to have our ND alumni connect with our students. Our students are truly encouraged and motivated when they meet professionals in the fields they are interested in pursuing.  I am excited to continue the engineering speaker series for years to come.”  Valencia is preparing to replicate the guest lecture series in the current semester with different speakers. 
 
The seniors in ND’s T/E/D program are the first cohort to complete the entire three-year curriculum.  Here is a list of their capstone projects:
 
 
Project Name: Prodigy Nautical
Project Description: Submersible vehicle kit made of PVC that students can assemble to learn about underwater robotics.
Jacob Bauer ‘22, Kenneth McGovern ‘22, and Justin Simoncek ‘22
 
Project Name: TraccFlite
Project Description: Hand-held GPS/ADS-B back-up device for pilots in case of equipment failure.
CJ Cicarella ‘22 and Cameron Urice ‘22 
 
Project Name: Automatic Chicken Feeder
Project Description: Chicken feeder (3D-printed prototype) automated by a programmed timer.
David Riccio ‘22 
 
Project Name: The Green Machine
Project Description: Indoor greenhouse for home use, automated by Alexa. 
Anthony Abbott ‘22 and Malachi Blatchley ‘22