SOIS Capstone Corner
Over the past three semesters, 22 students successfully proposed, implemented, and presented capstone projects as the final step toward earning an MS in Professional Studies degree through the School of Individualized Study. The project topics were as diverse as the backgrounds and professional aspirations of the students themselves. Of the projects presented, the topics ranged from the development of a marketing and recruitment plan for the RIT Imaging Science program, to a model for sharing services between the NYS Department of Transportation and the NYS Thruway Authority, to a training program to improve the quality of customer service in primary care facilities of the Dominican Republic.
Although an impressive collection of capstone projects, Mr. Alec T. Hadden’s project stood out in regards to how well it represented the integrative goals of the MS in Professional Studies program, as well as the depth of the scope of work proposed and completed. Alec, who earned a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from Boston University, works in the Research & Engineering group at UTC/Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford CT. Alec entered the MS in Professional Studies program in the winter quarter of 2010 and immediately set about developing a plan of study with concentrations in Business, Product Development, and Project Management, that would enable him to apply his RIT education toward the resolution of a substantial problem in the airspace industry.
Alec’s project, Overcoming Installation Challenges of Strain Gaging on Aerospace Components, focused on managing the process of developing an improved adhesive and installation process for attaching strain gages to airplane wings and fuselages. Attaching strain gages, which are an invaluable tool for measuring stress on new aircraft designs, has historically been a labor intensive, error prone, and costly process. As a result of Alec’s efforts, he and his team were able to improve the installation time by 15% over the legacy technique while offering a significant reduction in the number of installation errors and at a 100% Return on Investment to his employer. As an added benefit, the new process also proved to be more effective at attaching strain gages to traditionally difficult surfaces such as curved or angled components on aircraft. As a follow on to his project, Alec is currently investigating how industrial robotic arms in concert with engineering design software can be used to further improve the efficiency of the installation process.
Alec’s project was completed for his employer over the summer term with the support and guidance of Alec’s project mentor, Mr. Allen S. Carnicke, Senior Instrumentation Manager, Sikorsky Aircraft.