Engineered for Discovery—The Dean’s Leadership Grant

April 3, 2015

There is a whizzing sound, followed by a few beeps. More whizzing and then a click. Sitting in Professor Jun Choi’s lab, Anthony Cifarelli is broadcasting signals from various antennas into a large metal box. The signals, contained by the box, will then be carefully measured. This year, the Syracuse University senior is working alongside Choi in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department to test and research various antenna designs. The team is researching the different designs to determine their efficacy and potential future applications. When Cifarelli found out that he had been accepted to Syracuse University's College of Engineering and Computer Science, he was ecstatic—the Rochester, New York native had always wanted to attend SU. Upon acceptance, Cifarelli was offered the Dean’s Leadership Grant, a grant program intended to bolster students’ educational experience via research opportunities throughout their college careers. “The program has had a great impact on our ability to attract outstanding students, and likewise has had a great impact on the lives and experiences of the students involved,” says Kathleen Joyce, assistant dean for student recruitment at the College. Cifarelli, who enrolled as an electrical engineering major, couldn’t wait to get started. During his freshman and sophomore years at SU, he worked alongside Professor Shalabh C. Maroo in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Maroo’s group focused on fabricating novel nanostructured surfaces to enhance pool boiling and experimentally testing these surfaces. Pool boiling is one of the most efficient heat transfer mechanisms in industry, and Cifarelli was involved in the design of a pool boiling chamber in Maroo’s research lab. The design process involved sizing the chamber, positioning heaters in the chamber to keep the pool of water at a steady temperature and creating the CAD design of all the chamber parts for fabrication. During this time, he learned to use SolidWorks, a 3-D software tool for creating and managing data, and got the opportunity to design the hardware to test samples. “I really enjoyed working with Maroo—he and I were close and I got to learn a lot from him,” he said. During his junior year, Cifarelli did research under the tutelage of Professor Amit Agrawal. “It was great getting to learn about a field that wasn’t necessarily my own, but how my electrical engineering background was still applicable,” Cifarelli said. His research with Agrawal was primarily in the field of nano science and creating RGB pixel arrays—a color model in which red, green, and blue light are added together in various ways to reproduce a broad range of colors— using electric fields. This research will contribute to the creation of micro- and nanoscale optical devices. “I’ve had the chance to work on a lot of different projects and work alongside many talented people through the research program. I’m very grateful to have been selected,” Cifarelli said. Now in his final undergraduate year, Cifarelli will continue to work with Professor Choi on antennas. Upon graduation, he hopes to work in the defense industry. _____________________ Experiences like Anthony's are made possible by the generosity of our friends and alumni who give to the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Your contributions today are investments in tomorrow’s engineering and computer science innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders. To give online, by phone, or by mail, visit