Expanding scholarship beyond the classroom

Maria Nann

When Lannie Marsh signed up to work on a project for the Federal Aviation Administration Airport Design Competition, she wasn’t concentrating on the possibility of winning.

“I was working on the project more to work on it,” the graduate student said, “rather than working on it to win the competition.”

The project, entitled “Light Emitting Diodes: An Efficient Choice for Airfield Lighting,” earned Kent State second place in the FAA competition.

On Marsh’s team were senior finance major Ryan Cole and Michelle Lanning and Nicole Sellers, both senior aviation management majors.

Issac Netty, senior academic program director of aeronautics, said the competition was designed to encourage university students to submit proposals with innovative ways how airports can be designed better.

“The students came up with a truly fantastic proposition,” said Netty, who served as the team’s adviser.

The Kent State group competed in the category of Airport Environmental Interactions Challenges, in the subgroup of Increasing Energy Efficiency.

The students’ project focused on airport lighting, proposing replacing traditional incandescent light bulbs with light-emitting diodes.

LEDs, Netty explained, consume less electrical energy than traditional bulbs while producing a brighter light. They also have a much longer lifetime of operation, which saves money and time.

With its claim of second place, the team won $1,500, which was split between the four team members.

In addition to Marsh’s team, a second team from Kent State won honorable mention and a prize of $500. Team members were Michael Bertram and Jill Hunter, both senior flight technology majors, and Philip Oskey, a recent flight technology graduate. Netty also advised their team.

This second group’s project, entitled “Runway Status Light System,” was entered in the category of Runway Safety/Runway Incursions. The team proposed using a laser system to help control runway traffic, similar to how a street light controls traffic in an intersection.

Netty said this team’s project was so far advanced that it was a little more difficult to envision.

“The technology and science behind it is so sophisticated,” he said.

The proposals the student groups submitted were originally for the competition, but all submissions are taken into account by the FAA. They will determine whether each proposal has a possibility of becoming a standard practice for the world of aviation.

“Ultimately, this is the purpose of the competition,” Netty said, “to generate ideas from universities and practitioners.”

Netty said he was humbled and proud of all the students’ hard work and accomplishments.

“You feel a sense of relief to get it in before the deadline,” he said. “But when it gets beyond that, you feel a bit humbled by the success of the teams. It’s nice to witness scholarship beyond the walls of the university.”

Contact principal reporter Maria Nann at [email protected].</</p>