Seniors present research at 19th annual symposium


Christian Cline, senior integrated science and technology (ISAT) major, is an adventure-seeker. That’s why he chose to research pulse jet engines for his senior capstone, the culminating research project of his college career.

“I chose it because it was fun, adventuresome, and something I’d be interested in,” he said.

The 19th annual senior presentation symposium took place Friday, April 18, in the ISAT/Health and Human Services building at James Madison University. Seniors from the geographic science, ISAT, and intelligence analysis programs presented their work at numerous parallel sessions throughout the day.

Cline’s project focused on building a prototype of a pulse jet and analyzing its efficiency.

A pulse jet engine is “a simple jet engine that uses…no moving parts,” Cline said. “You pretty much add fuel and oxygen in it, to act as a potato gun.”

Students prepare their capstone during a three-semester-long course.

“Your first semester you pretty much get to pick your project,” Cline explained. “The second semester you actually start on the project and you get assigned an adviser; and they work with you and kind of guide you. And then the third semester you’re supposed to finish up your project, write a paper, and present.”

Senior Christina Carr, intelligence analysis major, also presented at the symposium. Her capstone focused on cyber-security and how to stay current with technological changes and cyber-security threats.

Carr said the capstone was a bit stressful, especially in preparation for the presentation.

“You’re thinking about making sure the timing is right, making sure your information is true, making sure you acknowledge each of the threats that are presented,” she said.  “But it definitely was a great experience.”

Carr’s advisers, Drs. Edna Reid and Jeffrey Tang, guided her throughout the capstone process.

“They helped provide insight on the types of methodology I could utilize, the type of information I should look for, the type of threats that are presented, and taking advantage of the different resources in the [intelligence analysis] program.”

Carr and Cline both see the value the capstone experience has to their future careers and personal growth.

“It definitely stretches you,” Cline said. “It really makes you go out and learn stuff on your own, and ISAT has given us the ability to do that.”

Published: Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Last Updated: Thursday, January 4, 2018

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