August 19, 2020
Whitney Lohmeyer, Assistant Professor of Engineering at Olin College, has been awarded a one-year, $198,000 National Science Foundation planning grant for the Spectrum Innovation Initiative: National Center for Wireless Spectrum Research (SII-Center).
The Olin Spectrum Innovation Initiative Center (OSIIC) will be a “hub that brings together commercial and government expertise with academic collaboration to not only transform wireless education and technology, but to share innovative academic approaches and wireless curriculum design with institutions on a global scale.”
Key agendas for the full Center will include developing real-world project-based wireless curriculum, facilitating fundamental long-term spectrum research, fostering entrepreneurial opportunities and environments for wireless communications ventures, and encouraging organizational collaboration between academia, industry and government agencies.
The future of education from both a pedagogical and financial perspective depends on providing real-world project-based learning opportunities to students with apprenticeship styled experiences
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The newly formed Olin Satellite + Spectrum Technology & Policy Group (OSSTP), comprised of student members Argyris ’22, Celvi ’23, Olivia ’22, Regan ’23, Rohil ’23, Utsav ’21, and led by Lohmeyer, completed summer 2020 research that resulted in this SII-Center proposal submission. In early August, OSSTP was notified that their proposal was one of the thirteen selected to receive funding for the planning phase of the project.
Lohmeyer believes that “the future of education from both a pedagogical and financial perspective depends on providing real-world project-based learning opportunities to students with apprenticeship styled experiences” and looks forward to working with external partners like Mangata Networks LLC to experiment in the implementation of such experiences with these NSF funds.
In addition to curriculum development for traditional undergraduate institutions, the OSIIC will organize workshops, short courses, seminars, and other lifelong learning opportunities for K-12 and post-graduate audiences. This endeavor, along with the collaborative educational, research and entrepreneurial undertakings of the OSIIC, will comprehensively train, develop, and refine the skills of a modern, talented workforce ready to tackle the challenges of the rapidly evolving landscape of wireless communications.
This is Lohmeyer’s second NSF award in two years; in 2019, she received a four-year, $4 million collaborative grant with the University of Colorado-Boulder, Stanford University, Georgia Tech, University of Southern Alabama and Western Michigan University. The Space Weather Atmospheric Reconfigurable Multiscale Experiment (SWARM-EX) project provides an important step in the advancement of designing and building CubeSat constellations for space weather (read more here).