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Mechanical engineering major Clark Britan ’08 (Falls Church, Va.) has been awarded a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The 11-week program at NIST’s campus, located in Gaithersburg, Md., gives undergraduate students the opportunity to experience hands-on research along side world-recognized scientists.

“I enjoy doing research and this fellowship will give me the valuable experience of working one on one with a professional,” says Britan, who plans to pursue a graduate degree in mechanical engineering after Lafayette.

The fellowship includes a stipend and travel and housing allowances. Participants work directly with NIST scientists and/or NIST Research Advisor and attend weekly seminars. They are encouraged to present their research results at local or national meetings and conferences and are encouraged, but not required, to pursue their Ph.D.

Britan will be working in NIST’s Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory (MEL), on a project involving measurements of bullet casings. He and others in his group will be working on ways to calibrate instruments that link criminals to their crimes. Every gun places unique markings on the bullets and their casings that can be used by law enforcement agencies to link the bullet and casing to a specific gun. This often provides enough evidence to link the person that used the gun to the crime.

Britan will learn to use surface image instruments, conduct measurements, correlate the image/measurement to previous images, and then to analyze the results. His work will be incorporated into reference materials that NIST will make available to law enforcement agencies.

Britan says he is pleased with his decision to study mechanical engineering at Lafayette.

“Lafayette is a great fit for me because it has a great student to faculty ratio and a great engineering program. The engineers at Lafayette have a lot of freedom to take interesting courses, but the course load is very intense,” Britan says.

A member of Lafayette’s Ski Racing Team, Britan also spent a semester studying abroad in Madrid.

Categorized in: Academic News